A Chinese patent has been granted to a new design which could, theoretically, see engines burn fuel to the highest efficiency level possible, findlaw.com reports.
The patent, titled 'High efficiency Internal Combustion Engine', protects a method which developers think could convert thermal energy of burning fuels into mechanical power inside an internal combustion engine at the highest efficiency levels theoretically possible.
Whilst the patent is only covering the intellectual property - meaning a mass-produced device could be some way off just yet - the company which logged the application has already built a prototype by simply amending an already-existing combustion engine. This, they say, provides working proof of their theory, whilst also providing them with an ability to properly test their device in the real world.
Furthermore, once produced on a larger scale, the new device could be easier to manufacture than the similar Atkinson engine, as it can be implemented without the mechanical complications which dogged its predecessor.
Even if it does go into mass production, however, fuel efficiency will still be impacted by variables like driving style, meaning current fuel-saving methods such as vehicle tracking devices could still be used, alongside the new engine, to create a more efficient motoring industry.
The engine's inventor, Alexander Bakharev told sacbee.com of the patent application: "My dream is to see our planet as a better place to live because of the AB Engine technology.
This method can make a lot of difference for our environment as well as bring cost savings for the end users. I hope that major players within all applicable industries will notice us, although we are a start-up company, and will help us make this dream come true."