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U-M students launch small engine efficiency start-up

Lihang Nong is fascinated with engines, especially small ones. The University of Michigan student, who is pursuing a masters in mechanical engineering, is turning that passion into a sustainability-oriented start-up, PicoSpray.

PicoSpray is developing a super efficient fuel-injection system for the kinds of small engines that drive motorcycles and lawnmowers. The idea is to create a cost-efficient system that is both fuel efficient and cleaner.

Nong came up with the idea when participating in a small engine competition last year where participants were asked to modify an engine to make it more efficient. Nong took it a step further.

"Instead of modifying an engine I built one myself, including the fuel injection," says Nong, founder of PicoSpray. "That laid the groundwork for this."

PicoSpray's patent-pending technology is reliant on its simplicity and has been under development for the last year.

"We reduced the number of parts drastically, by more than half," Nong says. "We also made it extremely easy to install. That dramatically lowers the cost."

Nong and his team of four people hope to begin selling it to automotive and other engine suppliers over the next year. The start-up recently took second place at the Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge, taking home $20,000 in cash.

Source: Lihang Nong, founder of PicoSpray
Writer: Jon Zemke
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