May 8, 2007 Acumentrics
, a leading developer of solid-oxide fuel cells and uninterruptible power supplies for the distributed generation market, announced today that they have proven 1300 hours of fuel cell operation on synthetic JP-8 fuel. The synthetic JP-8 (“S-8”) Fischer-Tropsch fuel was provided by the Air Force Research Laboratory, and was produced as part of the DoD Assured Fuels Initiative
. According to the company, this accomplishment marks one of the first fuel cell successes with heavy hydrocarbons in an extended run. Because Acumentrics’ ceramic fuel cells operate at high temperature, they accept lighter hydrocarbons such as propane and natural gas directly, and disassociate the fuel inside the cell, via in-situ reformation. For fuel cells to be of most use to the military, they must operate on heavy fuels. The heavy hydrocarbons in diesel and JP-8 require catalytic reforming before they can enter a cell. For this test the company employed a separate InnovaTek
February 8, 2007 In 1896, when Karl Benz patented the first internal combustion engine, it had horizontally opposed pistons, and the flat boxermotor (the German term for flat engine) has been powering some of the world’s best known automobiles (Porsche, Volkswagen’s Beetle and Kombi f’rinstance), motorcycles (Honda’s Goldwing and BMW’s mainstay Boxer range) and aircraft (Lycoming and Continental) ever since. Japanese automotive company Subaru has used the boxer design almost exclusively and is now pioneering a new phase for horizontally opposed piston engines with the release of the world’s first horizontally-opposed turbo diesel engine. The Japanese all-wheel drive specialist will be displaying an entire drivetrain at the 77th Geneva International Motor Show next month.
December 14, 2006 Zytek
has already proven its knowledge of powertrains and electric vehicle many times over, on and off the racetrack. Now, in collaboration with a UK Government initiative, the British engineering consultancy has developed a novel diesel hybrid powertrain that will be affordable in the most popular market segments. The new technology will allow vehicle owners to drive across London’s extended congestion charge zone for just four pence. The low-cost, high-efficiency hybrid-electric drivetrain offers a realistic alternative to expensive proprietary systems and can be quickly implemented within the packaging constraints of compact European passenger cars. A demonstration vehicle, built within the UK Government’s Ultra Low Carbon Car Challenge (ULCCC), has exceeded all targets set for the programme, delivering an exceptional 85g of CO2 per km compared with 121g/km for the already exceptionally efficient standard vehicle.
November 20, 2006 The sudden realization after several decades of evidence that the world is drowning in burned fossil fuels has catalyzed a lot of initiatives to reduce consumption and emissions, but few are as tantalizing as the prospect of diesel motorcycles which further enhance the already economical motorcycle to new levels of fuel efficiency and offer astounding torque and drivability. Though we have written about several production motorcycles such as the HDT military-only JP/8
and the Dutch-built Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI
diesel motorcycle, none have been available to the public in any quantity until this week’s news that a new diesel motorcycle from Holland has achieved production status and 500 will be built over the next two years. The Track T-800CDI
is being produced by E.V.A. Products BV Holland and uses the 800cc three cylinder Daimler Chrysler diesel engine used in the smart fortwo diesel, military UAVs and marine applications, matching it with a CVT, frame, driveshaft, running gear and ECU produced in-house. The engine uses a turbocharged intercooled Commonrail direct injection engine and produces a whopping 150Nm of torque. It comes with three pre-programmed ECU settings enabling it to be switched to run on 100% Pure Plant Oil (such as sunflower oil) or into a highly efficient but lower power diesel economy mode. E.V.A. CEO Erik Vegt describes the bike as a “BMW GS killer with KTM LC8 drivability and Suzuki Hayabusa-like torque.” “It’s the ultimate long distance and long life motorcycle that can run on diesel fuel or 100% pure plant oil,” says Vegt.
October 2, 2006 Honda has developed a next-generation diesel engine that reduces exhaust gas emissions to a level equal to a petrol engine and expects to have the engine available in its U.S. market cars within three years. The engine employs an NOx catalytic converter that enables a reduction in NOx emissions sufficient to meet stringent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier II Bin 5 emission requirements. This catalytic converter uses the reductive reaction of ammonia generated within the catalytic converter to “detoxify” nitrogen oxide (NOx) by turning it into harmless nitrogen (N2).
September 29, 2006 Subaru Europe President Hiroyuki Ikeda dropped an unexpected announcement in his Paris motor show speech when he mentioned that the company was working on a SubaruBoxer Turbo Diesel and that development is nearly complete. The horizontally opposed engine layout made famous by Volkswagen has long been favoured by Subaru and has been the mainstay of its fleet for more than three decades with its latest effort winning first place in the 2.5-liter class of the International Engine of the Year Awards. Though it’s logical that the company would develop the world’s first horizontally opposed diesel engine, there are many technical difficulties to overcome, so it was by no means regarded as a given. Anyway, we have the drawings in high res and we suspect it’ll be a beauty.
September 15, 2006 Audi is set to debut the first twelve-cylinder diesel engine in a series passenger car. A six-litre V12 will be available in the Audi Q7 that is reminiscent of the engine featured in the all-conquering R10 Le Mans racing car and it catapults the driving performance of the Audi Q7 SUV into the echelons of top-class sports cars. The V12 TDI engine produces a colossal 500 PS and 1,000 Nm of torque giving the car a 0 to 100 km/h time of just 5.5 seconds, and an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h. Maximum torque is available from just 1,750 rpm. The high-tech diesel engine, with the world’s first 2,000 bar Bosch Common Rail system, provides the high-performance Audi SUV with superior power reserves in any situation. The impressive sound of the new Audi is provided by the ultra-modern piezo-injection system. The V12 TDI transmits this power through a new six-speed tiptronic gearbox to the quattro permanent four-wheel drive system.
September 5, 2006 Congratulations to Audi on becoming the first car manufacturer to win an internationally recognised motor racing championship with a car powered by a diesel engine. Having made history by winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in June with its revolutionary Audi R10 TDI, Britain’s Allan McNish and Dindo Capello, of Italy, have added to the German manufacturer’s incredible 2006 success story to take the prestigious American Le Mans Series championship. That’s six starts and six wins so far and it’s a far cry from the until-recent perception of diesels as those rough-sounding, smelly, commercial vehicles that billow black smoke.
August 25, 2006 Last Friday (August 18) , the JCB DIESELMAX
broke the Bonneville record speed for diesel engines, setting a time of 317 mph
. On Tuesday (August 22), the vehicle broke the FIA international land speed record for a diesel vehicle with 328.767 mph (529.099 kph) and beat the existing record by more than 100 mph. Returning to the Bonneville Salt Flats with its FIA sealed engines on Wednesday, things went even better. Running soon after daybreak driver Andy Green recorded 365.779mph (588.664kph) on his first run and 335.695mph (540.248kph) on his return, giving an average of 350.092mph (563.418kph). It was the third speed record achieved by the JCB DIESELMAX in only six days, and demonstrates the power and reliability of its Ricardo
-developed engines. There’s a fascinating rundown on the technical development of the engines in PDF format available here
August 23, 2006 Since its debut in 2005, Land Rover’s most performance-oriented vehicle yet – dubbed a ‘sports tourer’ by the company – has been consistently in high demand, leading to waiting lists in many markets. Announced yesterday, a new and powerful, state-of-the-art TDV8 turbo diesel will become the fourth engine option for the Range Rover Sport, no doubt exacerbating the wait. With power and torque over 40 per cent greater than the TDV6 turbocharged diesel engine, but still achieving 25.5 mpg (11.1 litre/100 km) on combined fuel cycle, the new TDV8 is expected to extend the Range Rover Sport’s appeal still further.