Bill Gates, Khosla Invest In Troy Firm's New Engine

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Troy-based EcoMotors International announced Monday that the company has secured an undisclosed but “substantial” Series B funding round to complete the engineering and testing of its Opoc engine.

The two exclusive investors in EcoMotors’ Series B are Khosla Ventures of Menlo Park, Calif. and Bill Gates. The two principals, Vinod Khosla and Gates, indicate their stakes in EcoMotors reflect a shared belief in the global potential of the Opoc technology and the impact it can have on transportation emissions because of its cost effectiveness.

“Opoc is precisely the kind of game-changing innovation that we at Khosla Ventures are passionate about,” said Khosla. “The only truly disruptive technologies are those that can provide not only payback in months but also economic and carbon benefits to large segments of the world’s population without the need for subsidies or massive infrastructure investments. Among next-generation propulsion systems, the Opoc engine is broadly applicable and can provide lower carbon emissions than almost any other technology.”

Added Gates: “The Opoc engine can be an important step in providing affordable, low-emission transportation for the developing world. EcoMotors has developed a promising technology that could help reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions in a low-cost, globally relevant way.”

The revolutionary Opoc architecture of opposed pistons and opposed cylinders provides unparalleled benefits:

* High Efficiency: The unique engine architecture delivers up to 50 percent greater fuel efficiency compared with conventional engines of similar output, along with a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
* Half the weight and half the size of conventional engines: The Opoc engine provides unparalleled power density and flexibility in automobile and truck design as well as other engine applications.
* Low Cost: With 50 percent fewer parts than a conventional engine, the Opoc is less expensive to manufacture, to purchase, to operate and to tool up.

Established in early 2008, EcoMotors is commercializing the engine for use in cars, light trucks, commercial vehicles, aerospace, marine, agriculture, auxiliary power units, generators and more.

EcoMotors is led by CTO Don Runkle and chairman and CTO Peter Hofbauer, formerly head of powertrain development at Volkswagen. Hofbauer designed the original VW high speed diesel engine that became the foundation for the Jetta Clean Diesel that won 2009 Green Car of the Year honors. Runkle was formerly the vice president of North American engineering at General motors, where he spearheaded the GM EV1 electric car along with other innovations.

EcoMotors is a Khosla Ventures portfolio company. Khosla Ventures offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs in clean technology areas such as solar, battery, high efficiency engines, lighting, greener materials like cement, glass and bio-refineries for energy and bioplastics, and other environmentally friendly technologies as well as traditional venture areas like the Internet, computing, mobile and silicon technology arenas. Vinod Khosla founded the firm in 2004 and was formerly a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins and founder of Sun Microsystems. Khosla Ventures is based in Menlo Park, Calif.

(c) 2010 WWJ Newsradio 950, All Rights Reserved.

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