Plastic Fantastic: Are composite engines the future?

Florida engineer Matti Holtzberg has spent the last 40 years trying to perfect and implement a way of building useable engine blocks from composite plastics. With the advent of carbon fiber and its subsequent permeation of all things high-performance, Holtzberg decided to apply the technology to his composite engine idea.
Armed with a vast base of research and immense skill, Holtzberg retooled his operation to mold carbon composite engine blocks, with an eye toward selling them to racing teams. Holtzberg's blocks are based on the venerable 2.0-liter Duratec mill that sees duty in the Ford Focus.

Holtzberg's carbon-fiber block has the potential to save more than 20 pounds over the aluminum equivalent, but at an enormous cost. There's no definite word on pricing just yet, but it should be at least $2,500 per pound saved, which pretty well limits the technology to race teams... for now.

The technology could make huge leaps forward in weight saving and fuel economy should it ever hit the streets, but don't figure on that happening for quite a while.

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