In 2016, Dr. Kelly Senecal was asked to speak at the TEDx event in Madison, Wisconsin on a topic of his choosing. He almost did his presentation on the benefits of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), the focus of his company’s engineering software. But, while that is an important topic, a more mainstream “idea worth spreading” was In Defense of Internal Combustion.


And it was good timing. The video was released online in early 2017, which Kelly refers to sarcastically as the year combustion died. Media headlines declaring the IC engine’s death were frequent and widespread—so much so that combustion researchers were starting to doubt the long-term outlook of their work. As someone who believes that combustion is part of the future transportation solution (and develops tools to improve it), Kelly took to social media to present the opposing view.


Dr. Senecal talks to students, researchers, professors, and engineers about how combustion isn’t outdated technology—it’s relevant and extremely important. From this, #HugYourEngine was born. Dr. Senecal truly believes that one of the most immediate ways to go green is by further improving the IC engine.


Kelly Senecal has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is a co-owner and co-founder of Convergent Science, an SAE Fellow, and his technical articles have been cited more than 3,000 times.



In Defense of Internal Combustion



Graham Conway.jpg

Graham Conway, Ph.D.

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Principal Engineer & HEDGE Program Manager


Felix Leach

Felix Leach, Ph.D.

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Associate Professor of Engineering Science

University of Oxford

Andrea Strzelec

Andrea Strzelec, Ph.D.

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Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Mississippi State University