Questioning combustion: New engine designs question century-old engine concepts

Microsoft PowerPoint - 110513 HATCI PT Media event_v7.ppt [CompaDiesels engines modified to run on gasoline and a gasoline engine that doesn’t use spark plugs to initiate combustion? 

Though these may sound far-fetched, they’re two examples Overdrive Equipment Editor Jack Roberts notes in a blog post on innovative engine design on OD sister site CCJ. 

Alt fuel and fuel economy regs may own the spotlight, Roberts writes, but there’s some truly innovative research and development going into engine designs around the world that question 100-plus years of concepts about combustion and fuel types. 

Researchers in Sweden, he notes, have modified a diesel engine to run on gasoline — a move that the Lund University developers say could halve the amount of fuel used by gasoline engines. 

Lund’s researchers are working to achieve the perfect amount of ignition delay, so that during the time between fuel injection and combustion, a mix happens that produces minimal amounts of soot and nitric oxide, Roberts writes. These engines would burn cleanly and more efficiently. 

The second innovative engine work Roberts points to is the Gasoline Direct-Injection Compression Ignition engine, which is being developed by Hyundai and Delphi. The engine doesn’t use spark plugs for ignition. The engine is still int he early stages of testing, but Hyundai plans to begin track testing this year. 

Though both of these engine developments deal are working mostly with gasoline engines, they’ll find their ways to trucking “if they prove to be valid,” Roberts writes. Click here to read his full blog post.