Both gasoline engines and diesel engines have their advantages over the other when it comes to certain applications. However, they both also suffer from drawbacks that some people find too difficult to live with. This may all change though, as a new gasoline-diesel mixture is being researched and tested that promises to bring the best of both worlds into the hands of the consumer.
The New Mixture Could Bring Fuel Prices Down
The project is being led by Rolf Reitz from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he and team of engine researchers are developing the new technology. So far, the testing has yielded diesel like performance without the usual pollutants, as well as a 20% jump in fuel efficiency.
The new fuel injection technology has been named "Fast response fuel blending" and, according to the designer, uses the real time driving condition data to produce an optimal fuel mixture to meet the needs of the driver. For example, when driving under heavy loads the mixture might rest at about 85% gasoline and 15% diesel. While cruising on a fairly flat stretch of road, the percentages of gasoline and diesel would be closer to 50-50.
Under normal circumstances, such a mixture would require a massive ignition source to facilitate combustion. However, using the exact ratio actually provides just enough diesel to act as a massive spark plug for the gasoline. According to Reitz:
"You can think of the diesel spray as a collection of liquid spark plugs, essentially, that ignite the gasoline. The new strategy changes the fuel properties by blending the two fuels within the combustion chamber to precisely control the combustion process, based on when and how much diesel fuel is injected."
The most impressive feature of the new engine is the combustion temperature. In traditional internal combustion engines, a large portion of the energy being produced is wasted. This comes from either being transmitted to the block in the form or heat, or being blasted out the exhaust in the same manner. The new fuel mixture actually decreases the operating temperature of the engine, by as much as 40% in some cases. This means less wasted energy from the reaction and more power getting to the ground.
More testing is being conducted and a second prototype will likely be assembled within a few months.