Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lotus to Develop "OMNIVORE" Bio-Fuel Research Engine

Lotus has announced plans to develop a bio-fuel research engine dubbed “OMNIVORE” that will achieve a high thermal efficiency when fuelled on any alcohols or gasoline. The British sports carmaker won’t be alone in this project as Queen’s University of Belfast’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering will be adding its expertise in engine simulation while Jaguar Cars will act as a consultative partner at all stages of development.

The build of a single cylinder research engine is expected to be completed in January 2009. According to Lotus, the engine design will significantly increase fuel efficiency for sustainable bio alcohol fuels. The architecture of the engine will feature an innovative variable compression ratio system and use a two-stroke operating cycle with direct fuel injection.

Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus Plc said: ““Alcohols possess superior combustion characteristics to gasoline which allow greater optimization. Taking full advantage of the benefits of sustainable bio alcohols will ensure a greater percentage of vehicle miles will be travelled using renewable fuels.”

Geraint Castleton-White, Head of Powertrain at Lotus Engineering said: “The requirement to operate on gasoline in today’s flex-fuel engines limits their thermal efficiency when operating on alcohol fuels. However, the physical and chemical properties of alcohols, when compared to gasoline, provide the potential for higher thermal efficiency operation to be achieved. This single-cylinder research engine will investigate a highly thermal efficient combustion system that optimises engine performance to fully exploit the properties of both gasoline and alcohol fuels and maximise efficiency.”

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