The internal combustion engine is older than, well, older than Ford Motor Company. But now some research sponsored by Ford and BP may be about to alter the standard car engine. The research is being done at MIT. The research shows that cars can sometimes operate in a spark-free mode. The drawing above, from MIT, shows how the spark free (HCCI) mode differs from standard combustion and diesel motors.
The official moniker of this spontaneous combustion is "homogeneous charge compression ignition" (HCCI). Bet they come up with a better name when it's marketing time. How about "cool fuel?" But the new Taurus with Ford's exclusive new cool fuel system."
The MIT research indicates the sparkless combustion could spark serious gasoline savings in any engine. More miles per gallon. But it'll be a few years before you or I could buy a car with this new tech.