Engineers in Switzerland have developed a gas/diesel engine that they claim will halve CO2 emissions. ETH Zurich designed the natural gas and diesel powered engine by means of revamping an old Volkswagen Golf diesel engine. The newly-designed engine now runs on mostly natural gas, 90% according to the engineers.
Typically, natural gas engines use a spark plug. In this case, the engine is ignited by a small measure of diesel that is injected into the cylinder which, the researchers tell us, achieves a highly-efficient combustion “with a maximum efficiency of 39.6%.”
“In a vehicle, the engine speed and load change constantly, which means the engine system is far more complicated,” explains Tobias Ott, a doctoral student involved in ETH’s research.
ETH predicts that mass production of the engine could be possibly in the next five years.
“At the moment, we are concentrating particularly on the temperature in the catalytic converter,” says Ott, which needs to reach at least 300 degrees to run efficiently. “Our combustion engine converts heat energy into mechanical energy with such efficiency that the exhaust gas is not warm enough to create sufficient heat, particularly after start-up.”