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New engine could reduce truck emissions


Gasoline in truck diesel engines can give more than 50% efficiency if the combustion process is done correctly

WATCH: How a new engine type could improve fuel efficiency

A modified diesel engine running on gasoline could be a way of significantly reducing truck emissions, according to research at Lund University in Sweden. New fuel efficiency standards for large trucks were announced by President Obama just last week. The method could halve fuel consumption for gasoline engines.

The engine has been developed to achieve the right amount of ignition delay; meaning a delay between fuel injection and combustion. During the ignition delay, the mixing that happens produces minimal amounts of soot and nitric oxide. In fact, it could mean a new generation of engines so clean they wouldn’t require catalytic converters.

It also means greater efficiency – the Lund University engine currently has 57% indicated efficiency, almost a world record. This translates into roughly 50% efficiency on the output shaft of the engine.

“A reasonably efficient engine today would be in the range of 40-42%. We’re hoping to achieve 60% with this type of PPC combustion process”, says Bengt Johansson, Professor of Combustion Engines at Lund University.

A higher efficiency could have a large impact on fuel consumption, and therefore also CO2 emissions. Big trucks consumed 28 billion gallons of gasoline in 2011 in the US alone, according to US Department of Transportation statistics.

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About the Lund University combustion engine lab:
Competence Center Combustion Processes (KCFP) at Lund University will, together with Chalmers and KTH, form the basis for a continued eight-year push to make combustion engines more efficient. KCFP will focus on combustion processes between "conventional" HCCI (Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition) and the classical Otto and Diesel concepts. Partially Premixed Combustion (PPC) with the right level of premixed combustion is a very promising concept that KCFP pursues.

Bengt Johansson