It's as close as we'll come to a Mr. Fusion for a long time. Project 1221 is an independently-funded project to develop a zero-emissions gas turbine powered vehicle.

They've released their yearly update, which offers scant information shrouded in obfuscatory nebulous prose. From what we can glean, they've hit a wall and are now actively seeking alliances for design, engineering and manufacturing assistance to help bring the project to successful fruition, having exhausted the extent of their expertise and experience. Perhaps outside involvement will move the project along at a greater clip.

The wild-card in the mix is the gas turbine powerplant. Chrysler did significant engineering work in the '60's and throughout the '70s (they even put a turbine in a Volare, what a fall from grace from powering jets), but the technology has been largely dismissed as being not viable for mass-produced automobiles. With a goal of zero emissions, complete combustion of fuel is a must.

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Turbines offer some significant fundamental advantages. They are simple and have relatively few moving parts. They're also smaller, lighter and more powerful than conventional engines. Turbines are capable of burning a wide range of fuels, and they burn quite thoroughly. A turbine powered by biofuels, be it cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, or some flavor of veg holds new promise for emissions reduction and cutting ties to dino-based fuels. One of the issues with a turbine powerplant is that it costs more to implement, as there's the double whammy of high temperature exhaust and high rpm. Fuel consumption in the Space-Race days wasn't very compelling, but decades of advancement have reportedly made turbines nearly as efficient as reciprocators.

Before Project 1221 sees the light of day, there may be other conventionally powered sports cars that lift engineering from the project. They will be sold to provide a source of funding for the completion of Project 1221. We hope that when it rolls out, the turbine powered sports car has a better name. What's SAAB going to say? This thing really is born from jets.