Austin’s Yan Engines Raises $700K, Revs Up for UK Subsidiary

Yan Engines, an Austin, TX-based startup that is building a more fuel-efficient engine, said Wednesday it has picked up an additional $700,000 to launch a subsidiary in the United Kingdom, which will focus on automobile engines.

The company has focused so far on heavy industrial sectors such as shipping and fleet to build engines that it says can be up to 80 percent more fuel-efficient than current technology. Essentially, the company retrofits existing engines, but makes them more efficient by a process that “splits” the pistons. Yan Engines currently has a pilot program with the U.S. military to retrofit engines in heavy-duty diesel military trucks.

“It fits into the engine block,” says MJ Yan, the company’s founder and inventor. “There are no downstream changes needed for the vehicle.”

In total, Yan Engines has raised $5 million—including $2 million in 2013—from New Energy Solutions, a European private equity firm.

Yan Engines is among a group of companies working to make engines work better. Earlier this month, I wrote about Houston’s FlexGen Power Systems, which is using software and power electronics to increase generators’ efficiency. (FlexGen also has pilot programs with the U.S. military.) Last year, my colleague Sarah Schmid wrote about EcoMotors, which says it has developed an “opposing piston opposing cylinder” engine that it says weighs less and uses fewer parts, and, thereby, is less expensive that traditional engines. (Look for Sarah’s upcoming story on Achates Power as well.)

Yan Engines was founded in 2001 by MJ Yan and his son, Lu Yan, and the company built its first prototype from a Honda engine in Taiwan in 2008. The pair brought the company to Austin in 2011 in order to join the Austin Technology Incubator’s Clean Energy Incubator at the University of Texas at Austin.

For now, the Yans are working both the industrial and the automotive market simultaneously. “We think the commercial market will develop faster than the military has, and we’re planning to have good prototype testing and a solid IP position early next year,” Lu Yan says.


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