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An engine that runs on any fuel? VCs plunk money into the concept

Transonic has an injection system that can accomodate any fuel. Now they want to build an engine.

Transonic Combustion--which is working on engine components that will let cars run on gas, biodiesel, ethanol, vegetable oils or other fuels--announced on Tuesday that it has raised a second round of funding.

Investors in both rounds are the same--Khosla Ventures, Rustic Canyon and Venrock.

The somewhat secretive company has come up with a highly efficient combustion system for conventional engines that increases gas mileage. It also allows cars to run on different fuels, which could help goose sales of things like biodiesel. There are other techniques for allowing engines to run on a variety of fuels, but they aren't widespread. Transonic has built single-cylinder prototypes and will now try to build a four cylinder engine. It hopes to demonstrate the technology to the auto industry more fully in 2008.