Compression Ignition Engine

Compression ignition engines achieve superior thermal efficiency by the virtue of their higher expansion ratio and reduced pumping losses. By operating at high pressure and temperature they can unleash the energy of a wide variety of fuels, now and for the years to come.

Although the very first compression ignition engine, designed by Rudolph Diesel in 1894, ran on pure peanut oil, today’s compression ignition engines rely on diesel fuel, thanks to its unique combination of qualities:

  • Energy dense, takes less volume and weight in vehicles
  • Clean, with the recent introduction of ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel
  • Widely available, throughout the World
  • Most cost-effective, in the current economic conditions

Compression ignition with diesel fuel is therefore the combination of choice for the commercial transportation of goods and people on road, rail and water. In fact:

  • In the US, 25% of the fuel used by cars, trucks and buses is diesel fuel(1)
  • In China and India, diesel represents 2/3 of the fuel used for road transportation(2)
  • One out of two passenger cars registered in Europe is compression ignition/diesel powered(3)

Improving further the efficiency of compression ignition engines will reap huge environmental and economic benefits.

And when the cost to use fossil fuels becomes too high, improved compression ignition engines will be ready for the renewable fuels of tomorrow. Already, in 2008, the U.S. produced 691 million gallons of biodiesel(3). Second generation renewable compression ignition fuels from soybeans, biomass, algae and other sources promise that more efficient compression ignition engines are key to a cleaner and safer future for transportation.

(1) 2007 UN data
(2) 2010 ACEA data
(3) 2008 data