Gasoline engines still have a place in our future according to a company called Micro Wave Ignition (MWI). This German startup gets its name directly from the technology it's attempting to pioneer. Instead of igniting fuel using traditional spark plugs, these guys want to use pulsed microwaves for ignition. This process burns fuel at a lower temperature, which MWI says can cut consumption of gasoline by up to 30 percent, and emissions by as much as 80 percent.

It's natural to be skeptical of new-fangled ideas like this, but the company has one backer in particular we can take seriously: ex-Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking. He led Porsche from 1993 all the way to 2009, bringing it into the world of SUVs on his watch. For that, he's received some of the credit for making the company as profitable as it is today.

In an Automotive News report, Wiedeking said this about the technology, "I am convinced that MWI is a disruptive innovation with a huge market potential." Wiedeking, along with a few other investors, own approximately 20 percent of MWI.

The kind of numbers MWI is promising from its technology are certainly enough to raise eyebrows. Cutting emissions by 80 percent would breathe new life into the traditional combustion engine, possibly even slowing down the push toward electrification. MWI also claims the tech can be integrated into existing engine architecture, rather than requiring clean-sheet redesigns.

On the surface, it seems like an interesting possibility for the future of gas and diesel engines. Mazda still seems engrossed in developing gasoline engines further with its compression ignition Skyactiv-X engine debuting in the new Mazda 3. Nearly everybody still has a foot firmly planted in the arena of combustion engines. It'll just be a waiting game to see if anybody decides MWI's tech is ready for a production car, or if a manufacturer copies it with their own version.

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