The Engine: a Perspective on Human Life and Environments 2000-05-0010
In the 17th century, Christiaan Huygens invented the first engine to save the labor, which is humanism. Nowadays, both gasoline (SI) and diesel (CI) engines hold the definite position as the prime mover of the current surface transport vehicles due to their superior power, energy density, and fuel economy. Although these engines give exceeding convenience to human life, they also have become the vanguard of environmental disruption. From this viewpoint, the author has tried to give a historical review and perspective on engine developments. Although it is said that further emission controls in CI engines are quite difficult, recent research work and prediction for both lower emissions and better fuel economy are discussed. It is concluded that CI engines will co-exist with SI engines in the future, part of which will be used in hybrid systems. Fuel cells will be widely utilized, and hydrogen internal combustion engines would be expected as well. The prime mover for the 21st century should be assessed in terms of resource depletion, human health impacts, and ecological impacts by using the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) procedure. Future technology as well as the engine depends largely on politics and economics besides education and the information explosion.