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What is the future of the internal combustion engine?

Some people believe this engine will be phased out eventually. Others think it'll only get better and better as the years roll on. I think there's an an upper boundary to how much better it can become, and therefore there'll come a day when someone will build a museum for them. What do you think?

With electric vehicles on the horizon and battery technology improving each year, a bright future for these engines is becoming harder and harder to see.

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  • Aug 17 2013: Internal combustion using fossil fuels is a limited technology whose days are numbered for the simple reason that it is in limited supply. Most sources now cost more to get the fuel out of the ground and to market every day. Frakking just sweeps up the dregs that conventional drilling won't get. The question here is what comes next. I think that will the many technologies out there, that the replacement will largely depend on the application. Petroleum power plants in the US are all but gone already, replaced largely by coal and natural gas. Natural gas or hydrogen gas have increased hazards for moving engines because of their volatility and risks innate to automobile travel. Biofuels are an idea, for either internal combustion or fuel cells. We can go with innovations in batteries and use electric cars. We can store energy in the form of compressed air to drive a car. We can use capacitors to make electric cars more effective. Some of these will work better with passenger vehicles than with construction equipment or large cargo haulers. It may be that most diesel engines will be replaced with on technology and most gasoline engines with another. We need to evaluate the performance standards we are looking for in each technology. Petroleum was a compromise solution that has worked well enough for now. Now it is time to find a better solution that will take us into the next century and beyond.

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