Prototype of a low-friction "Brickley Engine" built

Originally published at:


I have to ask: was Brickley inspired by a toy he bought from a huckster on a beach holiday?


Wow, Monday is suddenly looking really good.


Great, except for that part about do we really want to extend the life of internal combustion?

  1. Neat.

  2. My 14 year old self says they should call it the “banging engine”, as it looks like two people banging…

  1. Lots of things use smaller engines that need the power that electric doesn’t afford.

  2. The whole “every car electric” is going to open a whole other host of ecological issues with battery creation and recycling/disposal. Plus how are you getting the electricity to charge it?

  3. Applications will still exist where electric isn’t as practical.

  4. Not every place will progress at the pace of the US. More efficient and reliable engines will still be beneficial.


I don’t think any power plant uses a piston system to generate electricity, does it?


I agree that drastically reducing our use of fossil fuels is an existential question for survival of human culture as we know it.

I think there will always be a use case for internal combustion engines, and if the Brickley Engine delivers the hoped for efficiencies, it would be a great one to keep around.


Poor guy is 30 years too late… small internal combustion engines are a dying technology.


…is not enough. We have to get to zero fossil fuel within a few decades. Anything new we build from now onwards that relies on fossil fuels is a liability.


What torque is the engine able to produce i wonder, and what’s the ideal usage for this type of engine? Really cool though i hope this guy can get this going and show its a viable engine for some type of application


Well, no, but the whole “point” of “electric good, gas bad” is the emissions and carbon foot print, which depending on what you are running your power plant with, and how it gets to that power plant can be as bad or worse, or only marginally better.


Very cool, but the article seems a bit light on details. There is more to an engine than how efficient it is in the butter zone. How is the low end torque? How responsive is it to changes in RPM? Does it consume oil? Does it have any tough seals that will blow out regularly? How is the cooling handled? Does it have vibration problems, especially at higher RPMs?

I’m not saying this engine is junk, far from it, just that one needs to keep a skeptical mind when someone comes out with a technology that they claim is significantly better than existing technology. The devil is in the details.


…but we won’t. And even that would not be enough to prevent major climate change, a mass extinction event, and a level of sea level rise that will lead to mass migration, the abandonment of major cities, and the conflict that go with those. So much of this is already baked in, even if the effects are still 100s of years off. Human beings and the societies that they build are cr@p at dealing with problems on this sort of timescale. 1,000 years from now, they will curse us for our short-sightedness, but they won’t actually be any better.


Isn’t this just another take on the Wankel Engine?


No, see, in the Wankel engine one triangular rotor does it all by itself.


The hand-cranked mechanism animated at the top of the story is just the linkage, not a complete engine. There’s a picture at one of the links that shows pistons connected to a similar linkage. My understanding is: The mechanics of the combustion end are identical to a conventional engine, it’s the linkage and the resulting packaging that are novel.

The Wankel design uses the same gas cycle but does pretty much every specific thing differently.


From the description, it sounds more like an opposed piston engine.


With the exception of small emergency diesel generator plants - not since the late 19th Century when the turbine came along. But some of the late 19th Century designs which ran at several hundred RPM were astonishing pieces of engineering.

Beware - the link I am about to use is dangerously addictive to anyone who likes mechanical doohickies - there are hundreds of pages of ancient plans and blueprints and photos of infernal machines:


Citation of a single example where a new combustion engine produces a smaller carbon footprint than a new electrical engine if you please. (where they are both serving the same power needs/use/application)

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