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Diesel-Like Engine Could Boost Fuel Economy By 50%

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the then-they-can-justify-charging-us-double-for-gas dept.

Earth 721

bonch writes "Autoparts manufacturer Delphi has developed a diesel-like ignition engine running on gasoline, providing a potential 50 percent efficiency improvement over existing gas-powered engines. Engineers have long sought to run diesel-like engines on gasoline for its higher efficiency and low emissions. Delphi's engine, using a technique called gasoline-direct-injection compression ignition, could rival the performance of hybrid automobiles at a cheaper cost."

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721 comments

Well let me be the first to say... (5, Funny)

krept (697623) | about 2 years ago | (#40042831)

WOOHOOO!!!
I don't really care about the karma here, but there's been so much bad news lately this is rather refreshing.
I'll let the critics speak and explain why this is not as good as it sounds, but FTS it's inspiring.

Re:Well let me be the first to say... (0)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40042937)

Hey, it sounds good to me...just wondering what kind of performance you can get out of an engine like that? 0-60mph? Top speed? Responsiveness?

Re:Well let me be the first to say... (5, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40043157)

For the vast majority of uses it won't matter. If you could get me 60mpg I would take 20 seconds 0-60. Old beetles were that bad and lots of people bought those. They also had crap for a top speed and were not what anyone would call responsive.

Re:Well let me be the first to say... (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40043189)

Well with normal diesel cars, we don't hear about problems like that. For most of these issues, is is more about the gearing then how the fuel spins the cylinders.

Re:Well let me be the first to say... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043231)

It is niether a bad idea nor magic. By pulsing injections they make the combustion behave closer to the Carnot cycle ideal, which is more efficient than the Otto cycle.

That aside, I have my doubts about the 50% improvement. And diesels are already closer to the Carnot cycle so you could say they are effectively running a diesel on gasoline.

One important benefit it could have over diesels though, is that diesel burns fairly slowly compared to gasoline - which is the reason why diesels rarely rev above 5000 or so. If they manage to get diesel-type efficiency but with faster-burning gasoline, it could result in an engine that feels and behaves like a gasoline engine but has the mileage of a diesel. That would be nice.

Redundant (-1, Redundant)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#40042833)

Seems a bit redundant really, I mean everything is moving over the next two decades to electric anyway.

Re:Redundant (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#40042863)

I mean everything is moving over the next two decades to electric anyway.

Electric has a moving target to hit, just as it has for the last 100+ years. Batteries are not the only technology that can improve in the next two decades.

Re:Redundant (4, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#40043223)

I don't think it's much of a moving target ... electric needs to reach a 600 mile range and charge in 10 minutes. That will make it an effective transportation alternative for all current automotive travel. It really doesn't need to get any better than that.

It's hard to see how electric can be beat in the long run. Even a 50% decrease in fuel use won't make gasoline fueling the cheaper choice.

Re:Redundant (4, Insightful)

Nkwe (604125) | about 2 years ago | (#40042871)

Seems a bit redundant really, I mean everything is moving over the next two decades to electric anyway.

Perhaps. It will depend on if we can figure out how to store electricity in the car less expensively then we can store the equivalent energy in a liquid fuel tank.

Re:Redundant (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40042969)

It's probably inevitable-- it's just a question of when. Battery cost per kWh has been decreasing at around 10% per year, and gasoline is getting consistently more expensive. It seems incredibly unlikely that both of these would stop moving toward the crossover point.

Re:Redundant (3, Interesting)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#40043171)

This. Personally I can see all-electric cars being even more capable than fossil fuel cars, at a lower cost, and cheaper to run, over the coming twenty years.

Re:Redundant... What's "This."? (2)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 years ago | (#40043347)

I've seen people use the term "This." just as you used it here.
I am not sure what "this" means.
Is this some kind of new shortcut phrasing? What does it mean?
I am a native English speaker (but an old person now and trying to keep up to date).

Re:Redundant (5, Informative)

KillaBeave (1037250) | about 2 years ago | (#40043245)

It's probably inevitable-- it's just a question of when. Battery cost per kWh has been decreasing at around 10% per year, and gasoline is getting consistently more expensive. It seems incredibly unlikely that both of these would stop moving toward the crossover point.

Gasoline engines have been keeping up with that 10% though. In 1998 the Ford Mustang GT with a 4.6L V8 had about 215hp. In 2011 the Mustang GT 5.0L V8 packed in 412hp. That's about 7% a year increase in power and a slight increase in mileage. It stands to reason if that extra efficiency was put towards more mpg instead of more power, that crossover point could be farther out than you think.

The good news is it's getting better on both fronts and fast!

We need new power plants ... (5, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#40042973)

Seems a bit redundant really, I mean everything is moving over the next two decades to electric anyway.

Until we see new power plants being built I am not so sure we will have a large scale transition to electrically powered vehicles. Various parts of our electrical grid are already pretty stressed out and seeing periodic brown outs and black outs. This could put a damper on large scale adoption of electric vehicles.

Re:We need new power plants ... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043077)

Or people like me put up solar panels to power the electric car.

And night time charging is ok in most places. If we had a smart grid, EV's could help provide power at some times, and could be told when was a good time to charge.

As for this new engine, it is a good thing. But, would still like to see stop-start tech at a minimum. Basic plug-in hybrid is better, and if it can be run as a generator at a constant speed more efficiently, then a Volt type EREV is the way to go.

Re:Redundant (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40043035)

>>>everything is moving over the next two decades to electric anyway.

Only for those who live close to work and never go long distances like the beach or grandparents' house in the next state. For the rest of us, we need fuel-powered cars (including hybrids).

Re:Redundant (4, Insightful)

ocdude (932504) | about 2 years ago | (#40043345)

long distances like the beach

If you're a long distance from a beach, you're doing it wrong.

Re:Redundant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043305)

there is nothing redundant about that comment, mods

Re:Redundant (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40043343)

No I don't see all electric in 20 years.

Unless we solve the problems of...
1. Range
2. Recharge Time
3. Getting the Grid to handle all the cars.
4. How do we generate all that electricity to do so.

Range and Recharge time. is the biggest issue for me. I travel 30 miles to work and 30 miles back. That is 60 miles. Most electric cars are pushing 100 miles, but that is the ideal range... what is the range going up a mountain? What if the batteries after 8 years are not optimal...
Next my parents live 800 miles away. Say I have an electric car that can do 500 miles per run. I drive mostly there, however I need to recharge. Can I recharge in 5-10 minutes or will I need to spend the night charging my car.

I do not have the money for a car to drive to work and a car to drive longer ranges.

So we will still need chemical powered cars, until these issues are fixed. I am happy to see that they are getting a lot more fuel efficient. That is a good sign, because electric cars are not going to solve all the problems.

Was only a matter of time (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40042841)

From what I understand, the major challenge of combustion without a spark plug for gasoline is preignition. High pressure direct injection allows normal spark-plug motors to run at higher compression ratios with lower chance of knock (preignition), so that was part of it, but I wonder what other fabulous tech was used to get this to be feasibly production ready. Very cool.

Re:Was only a matter of time (1)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 2 years ago | (#40043303)

Preignition they can solve with the direct injection, but there are other problems with "diesel like" on gasoline. To get the diesel like efficiency, the point is to run a very lean mixture. For gasoline, this results in excessive heat and increase in oxides of nitrogen in the exhaust. So to make this work they'll have to keep it from melting pistons and keep emissions down. And good luck to them as these have always been the fundamental challenges of gasoline engines.

Re:Was only a matter of time (3, Informative)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | about 2 years ago | (#40043371)

All questions answered (from TFA):

[T]he researchers found that if they injected the gasoline in three precisely timed bursts, they could avoid the too-rapid combustion that's made some previous experimental engines too noisy. At the same time, they could burn the fuel faster than in conventional gasoline engines, which is necessary for getting the most out of the fuel.

They used other strategies to help the engine perform well at extreme loads. For example, when the engine has just been started or is running at very low speeds, the temperatures in the combustion chamber can be too low to achieve combustion ignition. Under these conditions, the researchers directed exhaust gases into the combustion chamber to warm it up and facilitate combustion.

Mark Sellnau, engineering manager of advanced powertrain technology at Delphi Powertrain, says the engine could be paired with a battery pack and electric motor, as in hybrid cars, to improve efficiency still more, although he notes that it's not clear whether doing that would be worth the added cost.

Jevons Paradox (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40042851)

People will just drive more to make up for the greater efficiency, and still whine about gas prices...

Re:Jevons Paradox (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40042957)

There's limits to this effect. My florescent lightbulb on my desk lamp is 400% more efficient than the incandescent bulb it replaced, but that doesn't make me sit at my desk 4 times longer.

Re:Jevons Paradox (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#40043081)

Err, no. Driving has some significant extra costs that aren't captured by how much I spend on gas in a week: the time I sit in the car, being utterly unproductive. For some - specifically for those who drive for fun or work - this might lead to a zero reduction in gas costs. But it will reduce it for a whole lot of other people.

Re:Jevons Paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043249)

People will just drive more to make up for the greater efficiency, and still whine about gas prices...

Wow... that commute to and from work was so fun, I think I'll do it again!

NOT.

Re:Jevons Paradox (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 2 years ago | (#40043269)

People will just drive more to make up for the greater efficiency, and still whine about gas prices...

Drive more? Unlikely. My driving habits aren't dictated by cost, but rather by necessity. But it may be that they'll just start making larger cars that use the same amount of gas as today's smaller cars.

Re:Jevons Paradox (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#40043281)

Actually, they won't. We've now reached the point where further suburbian exodus is basically impossible. People (generally speaking) simply cannot have a commute that is any longer than they already have. There isn't enough time left in the day for the sleep required to maintain even medium term health.

Re:Jevons Paradox (3, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#40043317)

Why the hell would anyone drive more just because the price of fuel is lower? People drive largely because they have to, not because they want to.

I would insert an analogy here, but the fact of the matter is I have several thousand in mind right now, and it's proving impossible to choose between them.

From a buffoon (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40042865)

What keeps diesel engines from becoming a standard in the US? I know regulations nearly disappeared them from the market, but that was for environmental reasons, which are the very reasons why diesel cars are attractive. While in Europe it is not outside the norm, here it seems like you are committing a crime if you run a diesel engine.

Also - since diesel engines are so efficient and all - what stops them from making a hybrid car that benefits from the even greater efficiency of diesel? or this new type of diesel like gas engine for that matter?

Re:From a buffoon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40042987)

diesel is satans fuel, only tractors and boilers run on diesel, cars run on gasoline

Re:From a buffoon (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043015)

There are diesel hybrids being sold right now in Europe. Also, Audi will probably win this years 24h of Le Mans with a diesel hybrid (Audi R18 TDI e-tron quattro, google it), which will be a first. That is bound to attract a lot of notoriety and drive more manufacturers to employ that technology onto its roadgoing cars.

Re:From a buffoon (4, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | about 2 years ago | (#40043033)

High fuel taxes on diesel, because 18-wheelers are business assets and gov't loves to tax business, since it's hidden from the consumer.

Re:From a buffoon (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#40043289)

Even with higher price of fuel, better fuel efficiency of diesels (think 40-45 MPG on the highway for those sold in US today) more than offsets it.

Re:From a buffoon (1)

BagOBones (574735) | about 2 years ago | (#40043041)

In Canada diesel fuel used to be cheaper than regular fuel due to less refinement, however taxes now make it more expensive than regular off setting the fuel efficiency so no one wants them.

canadian diesel is NOT more expensive (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043143)

that's bullshit.
diesel in canada is MUCH cheaper than gas is.
even when the price per litre is higher, it's still cheaper! hey, you can't do math, please go back to school.

look, a tank of gas gets me 300km, but a tank of diesel gets me $1200 km, that's a 4x increase,
for the SAME AMOUNT OF FUEL.

ok, so diesel costs me $0.05 per litre or even $0.10 more, whoopee shit
for 50 litres that's only $5 more a tank, but I'm still going FOUR TIMES FARTHER than your gas guzzler at your best!

holy shit batman, learn some basic math

Re:From a buffoon (3, Interesting)

Idbar (1034346) | about 2 years ago | (#40043057)

I've been asking this forever! If Diesel engines have better torque, why not using them in hybrids as power plant (in a similar way Direct UPSs work). After all, most power plants I know are diesel, not gasoline.

Re:From a buffoon (5, Informative)

demonbug (309515) | about 2 years ago | (#40043063)

What keeps diesel engines from becoming a standard in the US? I know regulations nearly disappeared them from the market, but that was for environmental reasons, which are the very reasons why diesel cars are attractive. While in Europe it is not outside the norm, here it seems like you are committing a crime if you run a diesel engine.

Also - since diesel engines are so efficient and all - what stops them from making a hybrid car that benefits from the even greater efficiency of diesel? or this new type of diesel like gas engine for that matter?

Many reasons diesel hasn't been popular in the U.S. One reason is environmental concerns - at least in the north east U.S. and California, our emissions standards, particularly for particulates and sulfur compounds, are much stricter than Europe. A second reason is that people tend to buy cars based on horsepower, and diesels lag there. Third, lots of people have bad memories of noisy, smelly diesel engines from the 80's. Fourth, diesels cost more. All that said, they are making a comeback with the newer offerings from VW and BMW (and Mercedes?).

I believe the reason diesels haven't been seen in hybrids is a combination of several factors. One, they are heavier than gasoline engines which in a hybrid already facing weight issues due to batteries could be a problem. Second, they are more expensive than gasoline engines, and again hybrids already face a cost problem. Third, the efficiency gains using gasoline engines have been sufficient to set them significantly apart from most non-hybrid cars, so the additional mileage you might get from using a diesel instead isn't worth the additional cost and weight.

Re:From a buffoon (1)

KillaBeave (1037250) | about 2 years ago | (#40043075)

What keeps diesel engines from becoming a standard in the US? I know regulations nearly disappeared them from the market, but that was for environmental reasons, which are the very reasons why diesel cars are attractive. While in Europe it is not outside the norm, here it seems like you are committing a crime if you run a diesel engine.

Also - since diesel engines are so efficient and all - what stops them from making a hybrid car that benefits from the even greater efficiency of diesel? or this new type of diesel like gas engine for that matter?

We have a couple of emissions regulations that are more strict, or at least used to be (I think they're getting closer to parity, but am too lazy to gtfy). That and diesel receives preferential treatment in Europe by not being as harshly penalized via taxes as gasoline.

So in the states, gasoline is cheaper (generally) and gasoline engined cars are less expensive that their diesel counterparts ... the diesels being more expensive because of all the emissions stuff that must be added to them to pass muster.

Re:From a buffoon (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#40043079)

Diesel is more effecient and produces less carbon overall, but is does produce nasty Nitrogen and Sulphur compounds. Until the recent decade there was no way to effectively filter and dispose them off. But now we have means to 'burn' them off into relatively safer compounds, and there is pretty much no reason to opt for diesel.

Re:From a buffoon (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40043259)

The Nitrogen and Sulphur exhaust from diesels is dealt with the same way as nitrogen and sulphur in a gasoline car: A catalytic converter neutralizes them. There's no "burning" involved.

Re:From a buffoon (2)

Massacrifice (249974) | about 2 years ago | (#40043111)

Installed industrial base and public perception are the main culprits, I guess.

The production, distribution and consumption chain is geared towards gasoline, making diesel a less safe option as you can't be sure you'll be able to refill at any station.

North Americans are also used to equate V6 and V8 with power (although this is changing with the latest small turbo-4s such as EcoBoost), where the car diesel engines are most often geared for economy rather than performance (unless you look at BMW *35d series).

Re:From a buffoon (1)

saveferrousoxide (2566033) | about 2 years ago | (#40043121)

Actually, diesel was pretty popular here until about 15 years ago. Now it's just big rigs and pickups really. I know some imports run on it, but yeah we only have about 1/4 of our fuel pumps dispensing diesel.

Re:From a buffoon (1)

saveferrousoxide (2566033) | about 2 years ago | (#40043135)

Actually, diesel was pretty popular here until about 25 years ago. Now it's just big rigs and pickups really. I know some imports run on it, but yeah we only have about 1/4 of our fuel pumps dispensing diesel.

FTFM, i'm older than i remember sometimes.

Re:From a buffoon (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40043145)

>>>What keeps diesel engines from becoming a standard in the US?

The diesel cars introduced during the 70s/80s fuel crisis were crap, and now they have a reputation for being smelly and unreliable even though that's not really true anymore. Modern diesels are LEV qualified.

>>>what stops them from making a hybrid car that benefits from the even greater efficiency of diesel?

Nothing. Several companies have built prototypes over the years (example: An 80mpg Dodge Intrepid), but they've all decided it was too expensive to add a battery to a diesel and never developed them. The company that seems to love diesel the most is Folkswagen, and they've mostly focused on extracting as much energy as possible for the standard engine w/o electric addons. For example: The Lupo 3L which was rated 88mpg on the highway.

Re:From a buffoon (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40043335)

Only the ones made by GM really sucked then. The 80s Diesel Mercs are fine cars. The sad thing is Americans learned Diesel sucks from that period, what they should have learned is GM sucks.

The companies name is VolksWagen, VW for short. Yes V is pronounced like F in German, but that does not change the spelling.

Re:From a buffoon (1)

jm1234567890 (888822) | about 2 years ago | (#40043257)

Electric engines have high torque at low RPMs, which matches nicely with gasoline engines. This is not the case with diesel engines.

Re:From a buffoon (1)

CompMD (522020) | about 2 years ago | (#40043265)

The local VW dealer claims 40% of the new cars he sells are diesels. I see Jetta TDIs *everywhere* in the Kansas City area, as well as Sportwagen, Passat, and Golf TDIs, in decreasing order of frequency.

Volvo has a new V60 diesel-electric hybrid, which is supposed to have incredible economy and decent performance. It is the first of its kind. Whether or not it will be sold in the US, who knows.

Re:From a buffoon (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#40043297)

According to this article [autoevolution.com] diesel is expensive and electric is expensive making the resulting hybrid REALLY expensive. If you still want one it looks like the Peugot [peugeot.com] they reference is a go although not in the US.

If you truly want to go the diesel/electric route you could order this kit [rqriley.com] and build a striking auto (technically a 3 wheel motorcycle) that gets over 200 miles to the gallon. And at ~$20,000 for the build it is still economical. I just wish they would have followed through with their plans to manufacture and sell these bad boys!

Re:From a buffoon (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043357)

For the US: Perception.

I drive a TDI. Common questions are "does it have that annoying knock?" (older diesels made more noise. Even my TDI rumbles. My kids and I like the sound; my wife not so much. Its a different explosion, and it is noisier; some of us like it. But they have knocked out the "knock") "what about the black smoke?" (modern VWs get around it by adding a filter to capture the particulate, and then when back pressure builds the computer changes the mix to get a hotter burn and burn the particulate) and, of course, "yeah, like I want to go 0 to 60 in 20 seconds" (we Americans love our speed. And to combat that one, if they are a friend, I sit them in the TDI and demonstrate that the "T" stands for Turbo. Once you get the TDI rolling above a few MPH so that Turbocharger can kick in, its fun)

Then add the higher cost for diesel (higher taxes, due to the perception that trucks, which are diesel, cause more road wear) - although with the better mpg, most diesel owners come out ahead. I get around 35 mpg most weeks, with an average speed of 23 mph because of commute. If I get in some highway driving, 43 or 44 mpg is typical (better mpg if I stay below 70 around 55 to 60, but that's no fun). And what comes out the exhaust was clean enough for me to get the tax cut for a environmentally friendly car.

Why is this news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40042881)

Why is this news? Mazda is currently selling this as their "Skyactiv" technology. It is already here, and yes the gas mileage is 'close' to diesel like.

Mazda has it on the Market Already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40042897)

It's the same concept as Mazda's high compression ratio "SkyActiv" gasoline engines. 14:1 outside the us and 12:1 inside the US because they're more like diesels.

Re:Mazda has it on the Market Already (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043067)

They might be "more like diesels" but they still use a spark plug to ignite the gasoline in the cylinder.

Re:Mazda has it on the Market Already (1)

Nikademus (631739) | about 2 years ago | (#40043175)

This is still relatively low compared to diesel engines which can go to 20:1 or more.

Any engine technicians around to translate? (1)

LordNicholas (2174126) | about 2 years ago | (#40042901)

Where exactly do the efficiency increases from tradition -> diesel -> Delphi engine come from? The article mentions the ignition process but I'm having a hard time understanding exactly what about this drives a 40-50% improvement. What's so great about diesel, and what makes this engine so much better?

Re:Any engine technicians around to translate? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043003)

The key distinction, as I'm aware, between diesel and gasoline is all about the ignition to begin with. In a gas engine, you create a spark to ignite a carefully mixed gas/air vapor. In a diesel, you don't need the spark, instead using sheer pressure from a much higher compression ratio. (this also leads to higher power per stroke, and therefore greater theoretical efficiency) Presumably they've found some way to reliably ignite gasoline without said spark, thus reaping the same compression ratio benefits or some such thing, I would guess.

Re:Any engine technicians around to translate? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043047)

Check out this link on HCCI, which this sounds like it's based on...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homogeneous_charge_compression_ignition

Basically, emissions from Gasoline are more easily cleaned up than Diesel, but the need for spark ignition hurts its efficiency over traditional Diesel engines and the lower compression of traditional gassoline engines means that they extract less energy from the combustion of gasoline (as a percentage of total energy content) than diesel engines do from Diesel fuel. This has the potential to be more efficient than a gasoline direct injection atkinson cycle gasoline engine of similar power output specification and, if it retains the gasoline engine's preferred characteristics for usage in road going small hybrids, will non-trivially imporve the efficiency of Hybrid vehicles as well as regular gasoline only vehicles.

Re:Any engine technicians around to translate? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#40043089)

Diesel explodes, gasoline burns is my understanding of the difference.

Re:Any engine technicians around to translate? (1)

Nikademus (631739) | about 2 years ago | (#40043207)

You really don't want anything to explode in your engine. Gasoline burns when evaporated, oil burns in liquid form.

Re:Any engine technicians around to translate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043211)

Just the opposite. Easily demonstrated by a retard with a jerry can and a fire pit.

Re:Any engine technicians around to translate? (3, Informative)

Nikademus (631739) | about 2 years ago | (#40043095)

Efficiency of gasoline is better than oil in the same conditions. But diesel engines have much higher compression ratios (needed to burn the oil and give the self combustion). The problem with gasoline is/was that you could not get those compression ratios until now without explosion or engine melt.
Sorry for the simplification :)

Re:Any engine technicians around to translate? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043131)

Diesel fuel has a lot more energy potential than gasoline, that's why. Also, diesel engines run on a much higher compression ratio, and the vast majority of them is turbocharged, which further ups the efficiency. A turbo diesel engine with a particulate filter has heaps more torque and is lots cleaner than a comparable gasoline engine, while being much more fuel efficient. That's why in many european countries diesel powered cars account for 50% or more of all new car sales. With the advancements in fuel injection (direct injection, common rail, insanely high fuel pressures), metallurgy (engine blocks made out of alluminum alloys instead of iron - remember diesels run a MUCH higher compression ratio, so traditionally diesel engines were iron block to withstand the massive forces) and turbocharging (twin scroll, variable geometry, etc) seen in the last couple of decades, diesel technology is head and shoulders above gasoline power for everyday grocery-getting driving.

Caper cost (0, Troll)

qqe0312 (1350695) | about 2 years ago | (#40042903)

It is cheaper, or the cost is lower. You can not have a cheaper cost! Nor can you have cold temperatures for that matter.

Re:Caper cost (1)

crow (16139) | about 2 years ago | (#40042975)

Sure you can have cold temperatures. Artists know all about cold colors. I know several people with cold personalities.

Yes, it would be better to say "lower cost" than "cheaper cost," but it does differentiate from cheap as in low-quality.

What's the advantage over diesel? (3, Interesting)

wonkavader (605434) | about 2 years ago | (#40042915)

OK, yes, this makes a gasoline engine more efficient by emulating a diesel. Why not just go with diesel, then?

Is there more energy density in gasoline? Is it cheaper to produce? Or is this just about gasoline being more widely available and consumers being more comfortable with it?

I'm asking. Someone here knows, I bet.

Re:What's the advantage over diesel? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40042943)

FTFA: Diesel is dirty and requires expensive exhaust systems.

Re:What's the advantage over diesel? (1)

Art Challenor (2621733) | about 2 years ago | (#40043161)

expensive exhaust systems

So the $500+ I've just spent on new Catlytic converters for a gasoline engine wasn't?

Re:What's the advantage over diesel? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043279)

Nonsense. Particulate filters are cheap now. Even low end subcompact cars from european manufacturers have particulate filters these days. 10 years ago that would be true, today that is no longer the case.

Re:What's the advantage over diesel? (1, Redundant)

johanwanderer (1078391) | about 2 years ago | (#40042949)

TFA: "... But diesel engines are dirty and require expensive exhaust-treatment technology to meet emissions regulations."

Re:What's the advantage over diesel? (4, Funny)

nigelo (30096) | about 2 years ago | (#40042989)

> I'm asking. Someone here knows, I bet.

Read the article. I'm begging you. Read it!

Re:What's the advantage over diesel? (2)

Nikademus (631739) | about 2 years ago | (#40043037)

Gasoline is more efficient than oil in the same conditions. The problem is (or was in this case), the 2 types of engines cannot run in the same conditions, you can get more compression ratios with oil and it needs it to burn. Previous attempts at making a gasoline engine with a very high compression ratio like the diesel one resulted in explosions or melted engines.
Also, when you produce 1 liter of oil, you also produce some gasoline (even more than a liter if I recall correctly). So both should still coexist.

Re:What's the advantage over diesel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043061)

Diesel is a byproduct, it's what's left over after refining gasoline, jet fuel, etc. So we can't all go diesel, it would waste oil. I may be oversimplifying, because I'm no expert, but that's the way I understand how the refining process works.

Re:What's the advantage over diesel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043065)

People do exactly this - just not in the US. In Europe, diesel engines have something like 50+% market share. It's really a different world over there.

Emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043219)

A compression-ignition (aka "diesel") piston engine makes nasty emissions. The "cleaner" the fuel you burn in it, the easier to meet emissions regulations. Gasoline will burn cleaner in such an engine, but will require different materials and engineering design to withstand the much more sharply spiking, and higher cylinder pressures that gasoline makes when it detonates inside a piston engine's cylinder. A normal gasoline engine that detonates, will self-destroy its internal parts very rapidly, so such an engine must be built a lot tougher than a normal diesel engine that runs on diesel oil fuel.

Re:What's the advantage over diesel? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40043239)

diesel has nasty byproducts, worse then gasoline.

"I'm asking. Someone here knows, I bet."
For starters, everyone who read the article.

Re:What's the advantage over diesel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043251)

but on the other hand, will this engine have the same reliability that comes with a diesel engine?

Re:What's the advantage over diesel? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#40043325)

Someone here knows, I bet.

I've looked into it before. It's complex, but the "big four" are:
1. Diesel engines are heavier and more expensive. So sure you can buy a diesel that performs similarly to a gasoline engine, but it will cost about $5000 more and probably still be a bit heavier. Any technology that you can apply to diesels to make them rev faster or be constructed lighter can also be used in gasoline engines - so there will always be a cost and weight differential.
2. Diesel engines have more particulate emissions. In Europe, they do not regulate these as heavily as in the US. Meeting the US standard means more cost, complexity, and weight.
3. In Europe, diesel tends to be taxed at a lower rate than gasoline.
4. In Europe, they get high-quality crude and the refineries make diesel as a natural byproduct. In the US, we import a lot of really low-quality crude from Venezuela and Canada that needs to be "cracked". Once you are taking that additional step in the refining process, you can adjust the proportion of diesel and gasoline to suit the market... diesel is no longer a natural byproduct of the refining process. Diesel uses more crude than gasoline (it contains more energy - more carbon, per gallon), so there is little incentive for the refiners to produce it unless it is priced higher than gasoline.

Better than conservation (1, Flamebait)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about 2 years ago | (#40042935)

Let's face it, economic social justice requires us to enable the billion+ people around the world today who do not have access to personal transportation (like we do) to gain that access. Anything else is unjust. Breakthroughs like this one are a step in that direction.

Re:Better than conservation (5, Insightful)

Aquitaine (102097) | about 2 years ago | (#40043059)

You keep using that word "justice." I do not think it means what you think it means.

If by "economic social justice" you mean "ways I believe that I should spend your money" and if by "unjust" you mean "bad because it is not how I would allocate your resources," then maybe.

But "justice" is the application of law to achieve a fair, reasonable, and consistent outcome. If your neighbor gets fined $100 for leaving trash on the street and you do the same thing but don't get fined, that's unjust.

Enabling or subsidizing somebody else to have access to something that they do not currently have may be altruistic or philanthropic and it may even be a good idea, but it's got nothing to do with justice. "Social Justice" might have meant something once, but it's been hijacked in pursuit of so many agendas (because everybody likes Justice, right?!?) that it's about as meaningful as the names of laws, where you regularly see things like "The American Equal Opportunity And High Paying Jobs For Everyone Act" that does nothing like what the title says.

Would prefer this over a hybrid (5, Insightful)

takaitra (1441033) | about 2 years ago | (#40042991)

Don't forget that, when considering the extra mining and transportation of rare earth metals required to build a hybrid car, its overall environmental impact might not be any better than a conventional gasoline engine [suite101.com] . My choice would be to buy a gasoline powered car with 50% improved efficiency over hybrid--at least until battery technology (and China's environmental policies!) improve.

Mazda skyactiv (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043027)

Sounds somewhat like skyactiv but I think Mazda still uses spark.
The only problem I see with this delphi engine is that it might require high octane gasoline or the lower octane gasoline might ignite too soon and not be so controllable with a lower octane.

Re:Mazda skyactiv (1)

demonbug (309515) | about 2 years ago | (#40043193)

Sounds somewhat like skyactiv but I think Mazda still uses spark.
The only problem I see with this delphi engine is that it might require high octane gasoline or the lower octane gasoline might ignite too soon and not be so controllable with a lower octane.

I know the concern about octane is why Mazda lowered the compression ratio for U.S.-bound cars as Americans apparently shy away from cars that require premium unleaded (or so Mazda's market research suggests), but it seems silly at this point. The difference between 87 and 91 seems to be $0.20 per gallon regardless of price, so as gas prices go up this differential becomes less and less meaningful. If the performance difference is more than the 4.7% price difference at the pump then people will pay for it. Of course, I don't actually know what the performance difference between the European/Japanese-spec 14:1 compression ratio engine and the U.S.-spec 12:1 is (though I've tried to look this up in the past), so it may be that the performance improvement does not make up for the increased cost of fuel.

Hasn't this been done before? (1)

MoronGames (632186) | about 2 years ago | (#40043045)

I seem to remember hearing about a type of engine from the 1930's that was designed to run this way. The name escapes me, but basically, fuel was sucked in, and then the engine (once at operating temperature) would run off of pre-ignition, which allowed it to run using much more fuel. The problem with the engine back then was that the pre-ignition was somewhat unpredictable which made the engines extremely unreliable at best. Pre-ignition is something that can kill modern engines fairly quickly. It means the fuel is combusting at the "wrong" point in the cycle, which can cause parts to bend or break, and gaskets to be blown out. I'm assuming that they've figured that out with this engine.

Does anyone know the name of the engine that I'm talking about? I'd like to go back and read about it.

biodiesel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043055)

One word - biodiesel

Variable Combustion Chamber Geometry (1)

bhima (46039) | about 2 years ago | (#40043101)

Reminds me of the variable combustion chamber geometry engines that were a fad back in the early '90s. With electronic control it is possible to run a gasoline engine mostly on single event pre-detonation (which used to be called "pinking") which allowing things to get completely out of control and creating the damaging pre-detonation commonly called "knocking".

HCCI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043117)

How is this different from homogeneous charge compression ignition ”HCCI"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homogeneous_charge_compression_ignition

Compression ignition of gasoline is not, in an of itself, a new technology.

The problem is... (1)

apcullen (2504324) | about 2 years ago | (#40043213)

It's still burns gasoline.

The advantage of electric is that you have the option of generating your electricity using the cheapest, best, most efficient means possible.

Of course, the disadvantage of electric is that we haven't been making electric cars for 100 years, we've been making gas ones. So the gas ones will be simpler, cheaper, and likely more reliable.

How many times? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40043237)

There have been at least a dozen articles posted about new revolutionary engines in the last five years promising 40, 50 or better miles per gallon of gas. Has a single one gone into production, I think the answer is no. So either they're vapor or those conspiracy theorists are right and big oil is in one way or making sure they never get to market.

There was a news article about five or six years ago about some guy who invented a new revolutionary car transmission that was promised improved gas mileage but I haven't read anything about it since so what happened to it?

Would such engines... (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 2 years ago | (#40043253)

require a new factory? I don't foresee it going into mass production unless existing factories can easily retool back and forth between these engines and standard engines.

No, I didn't RTFA yet.

Someone correct me (1)

Frontier Owner (2616587) | about 2 years ago | (#40043261)

Didn't someone release a direct injected gasser like 20 years ago??? And for the love of god, why are we still using gasoline and not Diesel like the rest of the world for our commuter cars?

Meh (1)

FridayBob (619244) | about 2 years ago | (#40043293)

Yet another improvement on an outdated concept. The owners of cars with this type of engine will still be stuck in a the cycle of ever increasing gas prices. These days the only cars that impress me are the ones that offer an affordable escape out of this trap, even if the range is somewhat limited.
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