Patent granted for diesel engine 106 years ago today

Posted By on February 23, 2009

Rudolf Diesel in 1883For those that appreciate engineering and diesel automotive history, today was the day in 1893 that Rudolf Diesel was granted a German patent for his diesel engine design. Rather than burning gasoline in a cylinder with spark ignition, the diesel engine uses ‘fuel oil’ (or vegetable oil — peanut oil in Rudolf Diesel’s case) using compressed air in a cylinder.  They have and are widely used in European cars because of their efficiency, power and longevity and have been the mainstay worldwide for heavy equipment. (ie. trucks, tractors, trains, ships, industrial equipment, etc)

It is interesting that the modern clean diesel has yet to catch on in the United States, partially due to to and argument associated with the old dirty (pre-2007 LSD) diesel fuels and environmental concerns, and in part due to its fail introduction by GM back in 1977, in my opinion. Some diesel advocates disagree believing that certain measured exhaust emission differences between petroleum diesel (or biodiesel) and gasoline  isn’t evaluated properly and when fuel efficiency in taken into account, diesel engines are more environmentally sound than the gasoline engine in the long run.

Of course readers here know my bias for algae based biodiesel in combination with petroleum diesel in seeing a carbon neutral none food grade American produced fuel as the smartest current approach to using existing internal combustion technology and a new agricultural industry (algae biofuel)  as both a way to reduce our reliance on foriegn oil and create new ‘green’ sector jobs for our country — and as a bonus reducing overall energy use based on using the more efficient diesel engine. (I find it hard to believe there isn’t a production diesel-hybrid yet?)


  • FRWhythe

    I find your “desultory” articles interesting and wanted you to know that you’re site is bookmarked and read everyday. Thanks.

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.