Rudolf Diesel (1858-1913), German-born inventor of the diesel engine. In 1893, Diesel published a paper describing an engine with combustion within a cylinder, the internal combustion engine. In 1894, he filed for a patent for his new invention, dubbed the diesel engine. Diesel was the first to prove that fuel could be ignited without a spark, and operated his first successful engine in 1897. Diesel engines are now used to power pipelines, electric and water plants, automobiles and trucks, marine craft, and in applications ranging from mines, oil fields, factories, and transoceanic shipping. Good quality diesel fuel can be synthesized from vegetable oil and alcohol; in fact, Diesel demonstrated his engine at the 1900 World's Fair using peanut oil. Diesel was a distinguished thermal engineer who designed many heat engines, including a solar-powered air engine.
Diesel Engine Basics (U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy)
Inventor Profile: Rudolf Diesel (National Inventors Hall of Fame)
Rudolf Diesel's Engine (American Chemical Society)