researchers are developing an automotive power plant that promises up to 30%
greater fuel economy than traditional gasoline engines. The new engine,
which would be powered by ethanol, would be production ready within five years.
that it can boost fuel efficiency by directly injecting ethanol into the
cylinder. Direct injection technology is already being used on a number of
gasoline engine vehicles including the Mazda
MazdaSpeed3, Lexus IS350 and Pontiac Solstice GXP.
Direct injection allows for a finer control of fuel and injection timings
compared to traditional fuel injected vehicles.
sounds, which are caused by spontaneous combustion, would be eliminated
allowing ethanol engines to use heavily-boosted turbocharging systems and much
higher compression ratios. The use of direct injection combined with ethanol is
what allows for the 30% increase in fuel economy. MIT goes so far as to say
that if every vehicle in the United States were equipped with such an engine,
yearly automotive fuel consumption would drop from 140 billion gallons to 110
actually affect oil consumption, we need to have people want to buy our engine,
so our work also emphasizes keeping down the added cost and minimizing any
inconvenience to the driver," said Daniel Cohn, of MIT's Plasma Science
and Fusion Center.
researchers believe that an ethanol-based direct injection engine would add
just $1,000 to the cost of a new vehicle instead of the $3,000 to $5,000 seen
with hybrids. What's more amazing is that the engine will be half the size of
conventional gasoline engines. But while all of this sounds nice, the new
technology will be for naught if more ethanol pumping stations aren't added to
our existing fuel delivery infrastructure.