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对置活塞发动机氮氧化物排放更低的十大根本原因

The following is a Chinese language translation of our recent post: The Top Ten Reasons the Opposed-Piston Engine is Naturally Low in NOx

 

对置活塞发动机氮氧化物排放更低的十大根本原因

作者:Larry Fromm

NOx即氮氧化物、主要包括一氧化氮(NO)和二氧化氮(NO2). 碳氢燃料在燃烧过程中形成的这些气体会导致雾霾和酸雨产生,并对人体健康和环境产生不利影响.(Nature.com

全球各地的政策制定者已制定法律法规来大幅减少来自汽车、卡车、以及其他来源的氮氧化物排放。然而,在城区、港口、以及高速公路附近等交通繁忙的地区,高排放的氮氧化物依旧影响着人类的健康和福祉。此外,许多车辆在实际操作条件下排放的氮氧化物比在认证测试期间排放的要多得多.

OP发动机的效率优势

很多文章都引证了对置活塞(“OP”)发动机固有的效率优势。Herold和Wahl等人指出,“在输出功率和几何尺寸相当的情况下,对置活塞二冲程发动机相比于标准四冲程发动机拥有根本的效率优势”。通用汽车的Warey和Gopalakrishnan等人发现,对置活塞发动机的二氧化碳排放量比相同四冲程柴油发动机低13-15%……由于不需要气缸盖以及较低的表面积与容积比(比同等四冲程发动机排量低30%的表面积与容积比),缸内的热量损失大幅减少——对置活塞二冲程发动机的效率优势主要于此。Mattarelli与Cantore等人指出“[对置活塞发动机]在扫气和热量效率方面的优势是毋庸置疑的:可以通过有效便捷的进排气口与活塞的控制实现完美的“单向”扫气模式, 同时通过相对较小的气体接触面积来大幅降低排热损失.”

让我们来细数OP发动机在氮氧化物排放方面的优势

值得注意的是,OP发动机在控制氮氧化物排放方面也具有显著且独特的优势。 本文旨在描述这十大优势.

控制氮氧化物排放有两个关键:抑制其在燃烧过程中的生成,并将已燃烧生成的氮氧化物还原转化为氮气、水和二氧化碳等空气中的天然成分。 柴油发动机中用于减少氮氧化物排放的主要技术是选择性催化剂还原(“SCR”).  SCR是一种排放控制系统,通过一种特殊的催化剂将一种液相还原剂注入发动机的废气中. 这种液相还原剂通常是车用尿素,又称为柴油排放液(DEF).

1 – 快速催化剂起燃

然而,为了达到有效的催化还原效果, SCR必须高于200℃。在某些运行模式下,发动机能够产生必需的热量来保证催化器运行始终处于有效区间。不幸的是,在更大多数的运行模式下,情况并非如此. 低负荷运行和冷启动是当前SCR技术面临的两大关键问题。 在法规规定的测试循环内,柴油发动机中几乎所有氮氧化物排放都发生在冷启动后的前600秒内.

Southwest Research(“SwRI”)的Sharp和Webb等人发现,“重型卡车发动机上, 2010年及之后典型的的排放系统在冷启动联邦测试循环周期的中途点(600秒)之前不会……实现高水平的氮氧化物还原(即优于95%).”

OP发动机在实现快速催化剂起燃方面具有独特且显著的优势. Achates Power的Kalebjian、Redon和Wahl描述了这一策略. 在催化剂起燃模式期间,发动机以低送气比运行,以增加缸内残留气体和俘获温度.曲轴驱动的机械增压器提供足够高的进气歧管压力,以实现足够的空燃比和良好的燃烧稳定性. 采用预喷及后喷的喷油策略致废气温度的显著升高。Achates Power及SwRI的Patil和Ghazi等人记录了测试结果:OP发动机在不到100秒的时间内使氮氧化物还原实现最大值.

右边的图表显示了发动机尾气排出温度。 绿色线条代表2017年SwRI针对基准重型卡车发动机的研究结果。 红色线条为对同一款发动机校准改造以提高冷启动废气温度的结果。蓝色线条表示在Achates Power对OP发动机进行测试的结果。OP发动机能够在40秒内使废气温度达到并保持在200°C,而改进后的传统发动机则要花费大约400秒.

2 – 冷启动催化剂起燃期间发动机氮氧化物排放低

由于SCR在起燃之前还原效率非常低,因此在发生起燃之前减少发动机排出的氮氧化物是降低尾气氮氧化物的必要条件.OP发动机在这方面也具有无与伦比的优势。 大量的缸内燃烧残余气体有助于快速提升废气温度,同时也可以作为内部或自然废气再循环(稍后详述)以减少氮氧化物的形成. 在同一篇论文中,Patil与Ghazi等人显示了冷启动后发动机排出的氮氧化物累积值.

与基准(绿线)或改进的重型传统发动机(红线)相比,OP发动机(蓝线)只会累积少量的氮氧化物.

 

 

 

3 – 内部废气再循环

柴油发动机和越来越多的汽油发动机把废气再循环(“EGR”)作为控制氮氧化物形成的常规技术. 氮气和氧气的混合气体在高温下主要形成氮氧化物. 缸内的残留气体与新鲜空气混合从而稀释了混合气中的氧浓度,同时废气再循环中不再参与燃烧的气体(水及二氧化碳)被导入缸内从而吸收燃烧的热量并降低缸内峰值温度.

在传统的发动机中,废气一直处于再循环的过程中:在排气过程中被抽出缸内,返回到进气歧管,然后再被引入缸内与新鲜空气混合。

OP发动机通常也使用EGR,但它们还具有额外的优势:内部或自然EGR [i].

OP发动机进气口在气缸的一侧而排气口在另一侧(如下图右侧), 以实现有效的直流扫气. 与传统发动机不同,OP发动机中的活塞不会将空气泵出或引入缸内。相反,当活塞进行往复运动时,它们会交替打开关闭进排气口,从而实现气体交换。排气活塞通常比进气活塞先打开几度,开始进行换气。当进气口打开时,来自加压进气歧管的空气将废气推出排气口. 在进排气口都关闭后,缸内俘获的气体被压缩。进气歧管和排气歧管之间的压差必须保持为正,以便进行适当的扫气。压差通常由正容积式泵(如增压器)保持。清除的废气量取决于进气和排气之间的压差. 高负荷工况点需要足够的新鲜空气与燃油混合,此时正排量泵对进气进行加压以实现完全扫气(甚至过度扫气); 而在低负荷工况点,由于仅有少量燃油喷入,因此仅需要相对少量的新鲜空气. 在这种情况下,正容积式泵可以做最少的功,同时将压差最小化从而使部分废气留在了气缸中. 根据运行条件和燃油性质,多达超过50%的废气可以保留在气缸中,并且如有需要依旧可以增加外部EGR以进一步提高EGR比率.

将气缸扫气与活塞运动分离以实现部分扫气的功能有诸多益处. 上文已经叙述了其中一个好处——由于高温废气无法被冷新鲜空气完全稀释,在冷启动时有助于快速提高废气温度. 另外一个好处是能够在低负荷条件下降低泵做功,使得油耗图波动相对平缓,从而实现较高的平均循环效率.

与此密切相关,内部与外部ERG相结合使得OP发动机只需少量的泵做功便能实现高ERG比率. 高EGR比率抑制了氮氧化物的形成,实现本质上的低氮氧化物发动机。 夏普、韦伯等人的论文指出,由于SCR效率高,一旦催化剂起燃,即使缸内排出的氮氧化物高达3-4 g/bhp-hr, 尾气中排放的氮氧化物通过催化还原仍可降至0.02 g/bhp-hr.  作为一种本质上低氮氧化物发动机,OP发动机实际上没有损失任何效率以实现如此高水平的发动机氮氧化物排放.

Mattarelli及Cantore等人指出了OP发动机的这一优势:“由于新鲜空气总是被燃烧气体稀释,因此氮氧化物排放量预计会更低.”

4 – 高低负荷废气温度

如引言中所述,人们越发认识到,在许多情况下,氮氧化物的实际排放量要远远高于监管测试周期所测得的数据。原因之一是商用车辆循环的特征之一通常是高负荷——长途卡车的正常运行模式。但当这些卡车在市区或通行缓慢的区域行驶式时,通常是在较低负荷的工况下运行,因此产生的废热也较少。于是,SCR催化剂的温度低于有效温度范围。上述能够实现气缸部分扫气的功能也意味着低负荷废气温度相对高,从而能够保持SCR效率。此外,使用催化剂起燃模式可在必要时快速提高废气温度以保持SCR效率.

右表表示在高速满载区域OP发动机的涡轮输出温度.

 

5 –  低/高负荷废气温度

在右图中,您还可能注意到,高负荷废气温度通往往低于传统发动机,很少超过400°C. 在低负荷条件下,我们注意到OP发动机具有部分扫气的优势。 在高负荷条件下,OP发动机可以实现全气缸扫气。在这一工况下,一些温度较低的、新鲜的空气被短路送气,即直接从进气口入、排气口出,从而降低了废气温度. 如果需要, OP发动机甚至可以进行过度扫气来冷却废气. 后处理系统的性能会随排气温度升高而下降,而传统发动机的废气温度却有可能超过700°C. 较低的峰值温度有许多好处:

  • 催化剂保持有效的时间更长,从而在整个车辆寿命期间实现更低的尾气排放.
  • 因为不必承受极端的高温气体,可以使用新的,更有效而成本更低廉的催化剂.
  • 催化剂的用量可以减少(因为它有效的时间更长),从而节省成本.

6 – 降低体积流量

后处理系统的设计尺寸旨在处理峰值负载下的排气流量. 因为与传统发动机相比,OP发动机在峰值负荷下的废气温度相当低(因为较冷的气体密度更大),所以OP发动机的容积废气流量比同等传统发动机低约30%. 这意味着若体积相同则OP的后处理系统将更有效(实际上尺寸已经过大)或可以减小后处理系统的尺寸以大幅降低成本,或者最有可能的是,两者结合以实现双重收益.

7 – 降低BMEP

平均指示缸内压力(BMEP)指发动机循环中活塞的平均压力. OP发动机是二冲程发动机,因此发动机每转一圈,每个气缸都有一个动力冲程. 与传统发动机相比,这使得OP发动机具有固有的功率密度优势. 可以通过两种方式来利用这种优势- 降低排量或降低BMEP.一般来说,这两种方式会同时发生. 例如,若需要更换一台6.7L的传统中型发动机,Achates Power通常会设计一款5.0L的二冲程OP发动机. OP发动机的排量降低了25%,而不是50%(降低一半). 这也意味着与原先的发动机相比,它的BMEP更低,正如Warey、Gopalakrishnan等人所述:“[OP]发动机的燃烧更高效、燃烧相位更优、BMEP更低且质量可能更低.” 氮氧化物随着BMEP的增加而上升,因此,较低的BMEP有助于控制氮氧化物的形成,进而实现本质上低氮氧化物的OP发动机.

8 – 降低尾气排放

在许多情况下氮氧化物实际排放量远高于法规循环测量值的另一个原因是,当配备传统发动机的车辆减速时,SCR催化剂会被主动冷却。切断燃油供给后,发动机由车辆惯性驱动。然而,引入的温度低且新鲜的空气充满了整个气缸,并被抽至排气管,导致催化剂冷却。但是,由于OP发动机的气缸扫气量与活塞运动无关,车辆减速时,通过发动机的新鲜空气气流可以停止,从而极大地改善了SCR催化剂的热惯性.

9 – 低油耗

众所周知,油耗和氮氧化物形成之间存在此消彼长的关系。可以降低氮氧化物……但代价是增加油耗(及二氧化碳排放). 许多设计和运行变量会影响这种平衡,包括压缩比、EGR比、和喷油时间。正如Sharp和Webb等人发现,降低发动机排放的氮氧化物总是以增加二氧化碳排放为代价.

除了本文所述的众多有关氮氧化物的优势之外,OP发动机还具有固有的显著效率优势,如上所述,这为控制氮氧化物排放提供了更大的平衡空间.

10 – 低颗粒物

氮氧化物与碳烟颗粒物(“PM”)形成之间此消彼长的关系亦是众所周知的, 即一个减少另一个便会增加.

OP发动机在这方面也具有显着优势. 作为一种本质上的低PM发动机,它拓宽了氮氧化物-PM的平衡空间. OP发动机能够实现低PM运行主要基于两大特征. 首先,OP发动机通常拥有两个径向相对的喷射器,喷射整个缸径.

双喷射使得空气和油束之间有更大的接触面积. 几乎没有燃料会喷射到活塞和裙座之间的缝隙中. 两种喷射的冲力相抵消以避免缸壁湿润.

其次,可以通过OP发动机的两个活塞碗的形状设计,形成有利于空油混合的涡流和滚流. 另外进气口上的叶片角度形成的进气涡流有助于扫气和气体混合. 两个活塞碗的形状可以在自动点火瞬间将涡流转变为滚流,由因此形成的湍流动能能够卷走任何尚未雾化的液体颗粒,并加速混合在局部产生稀薄燃烧,从而降低PM生成.

结论

世界各国正在努力降低交通带来的雾霾以及其他不利于人体健康和环境的影响,同时旨在减少能耗以降低气候变化的影响并加强能源安全. 由于氮氧化物和二氧化碳之间固有的此消彼长的关系,这两个目标曾经似乎很难同时实现.

引人注意的是,对置活塞发动机在同时降低氮氧化物和二氧化碳排放方面具有显著、独特的优势, 且这些优势已被实验证实. 加利福尼亚空空气资源协会(California Air Resources Board)最近向一支工业项目团队发放了一笔资金, 来优化Achates Power针对重卡设计的对置活塞发动机,力图同时降低90%的氮氧化物排放和15%的二氧化碳排放.

除了Achates Power之外, SwRI、康宁、巴斯夫和佛吉亚等后处理系统专家也是项目团队的成员. 对搭载使用老化催化剂的成熟后处理模型的OP发动机原型的测试表明,重型OP发动机在FTP循环可以实现0.01 g/bhp-hr 的尾气氮氧化物排放,比美国目前的标准(世界上最严格的标准)低95%,并且低于甚至是最严格的加州超低氮氧化物标准。除了实现前所未有的低水平氮氧化物排放,该发动机也有望实现远低于EPA 2027规定的432 g/bhp-hr的二氧化碳排放限值.

[i]由于废气不再循环……只是留在气缸中,因此将其称为废气再循环听起来很奇怪. 但是由于EGR已被普遍使用, “内部EGR” 这个称谓也已被业界接受和公认. 自行车手可能会在自行车运动中意识到一个类似的现象——带卡扣的踏板被称为“无卡扣踏板”.

 

Achates Power and Cummins develop leap-ahead capability for the US Army Ground Combat Fleet

A joint development team from Achates Power and Cummins Corporate Research and Technology has been running at full throttle for over a year to develop an opposed-piston Advanced Combat Engine (ACE) for the U.S. Army.  The engine is part the US Army’s 30-year strategy to modernize tactical and combat vehicles.

After several years of technology demonstrations and an intense competition, the Army kicked off the path to production by selecting the Achates Power / Cummins team last summer.  This $47.4 million contract through the National Advanced Mobility Consortium propels the 1000 HP 4-cylinder ACE variant to Technology Readiness Level 6, which will make it suitable for in-vehicle and real-world testing.

In March, our single-cylinder test asset passed an aggressive 80-hour durability test; and, the Army displayed a scale model of the engine at the Association of the United States Army’s Global Force Symposium and Exposition in Huntsville, Alabama.

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Achates Power remarks for NHTSA/EPS hearing on fuel economy standards

Achates Power remarks for NHTSA/EPS hearing on fuel economy standards. Dearborn, Michigan. September 25, 2018. John S. Major Jr., Vice President, Achates Power

In 2007, the US passed the first increase in fuel economy standards since their inception in 1975.  Targeting a fleet wide 35 mpg by 2020, Americans would save $22 billion and enjoy an emissions reduction equivalent to removing 28 million cars from the road.

In the 11 years since, the auto industry has boomed.  Record volumes and profits were common.  Some of the changes the industry experienced were more nuanced; suppliers that were traditionally bound to one OEM or to regional OEMs evolved and became global players in their own rite.  Their technology investments, in some cases, rivaled the OEMs that they served, and much of this investment hinged on a long term and stable understanding of fuel economy goals.  From electric vehicles, to plug in hybrids, to 48V, cylinder shutoff, waste heat recovery, to a plethora of advanced engines, the industry invested in American innovation, technology, and jobs, in the framework of standards that allowed them to carefully plan and deploy these technologies into market.

Achates Power knows because we are the world leader in the development of one such advanced engine technology, the Opposed-Piston Engine.  The Opposed-Piston Engine has been proven with measured, peer-reviewed results to meet the most demanding tailpipe emissions standards with very high efficiency.  Recent OP Gasoline Compression Ignition results demonstrate that the engine is capable of double-digit efficiency improvements over the state of the art engines.  And while the OP Engine itself sets a new baseline for efficiency and emissions, virtually everything being done to optimize and enhance four-stroke engine performance can also be applied to this superior architecture of IC Engine.  It is practical, and our light-duty engine has been packaged in a drivable F-150 demonstrator that will achieve a CAFE combined 37 mpg.  Our heavy-duty engine is destined for demonstration in a class 8 Peterbilt line haul truck in late 2019, and will achieve 0.02 ultra-low NOx in parallel with a 15% CO2 reduction from 2017 requirements, 10% lower than 2027 heavy duty CO2 requirements.  It can be designed to meet all industry durability requirements, and, at 30% fewer parts than a comparable four-stroke engine, it will have a cost advantage at scale. Continue reading

The Top Ten Reasons the Opposed-Piston Engine is Naturally Low in NOx

NOx is a generic term for oxides of nitrogen, nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).  These gases are formed during combustion of hydrocarbon fuels and contribute to the formation of smog and acid rain, and have other adverse health and environmental impact. (Nature.com)

Policy makers around the world have enacted regulations to significantly reduce NOx emissions from cars, trucks, and other sources.  Nevertheless, in areas of heavy vehicle traffic – urban areas, ports, and near highways – high level of NOx impacts human health and well-being.  Moreover, many vehicles emit far more NOx under real world operating conditions than during certification testing.

OP Engine Efficiency Advantage

Many sources have cited the inherent efficiency advantages of the Opposed-Piston (“OP”) Engine.  Herold, Wahl, et al describe the source and magnitude of the “fundamental efficiency advantage of an opposed-piston two-stroke engine over a standard four-stroke engine of comparable power output and geometric size”.  Warey, Gopalakrishnan, et al of General Motors find “the opposed-piston diesel engine had about a 13-15% lower CO2 emissions compared to a four-stroke diesel engine….The efficiency advantage of the opposed-piston two-stroke engine is mainly due to lower in-cylinder heat losses due to elimination of the cylinder head and lower surface area to volume ratio “30% lower surface area to volume ratio for equivalent four-stroke engine displacement”.  Mattarelli, Cantore, et al find “the advantages [of the opposed-piston engine] in terms of scavenge and thermal efficiency are indisputable: a perfect ‘uniflow’ scavenge mode can be achieved with inexpensive and efficient piston controlled ports, while heat losses are strongly reduced by the relatively small transfer area.”

OP Engine NOx Advantage – Let Us Count the Ways

It is noteworthy that the OP Engine also has significant and unique advantages in controlling NOx emissions.  The purpose of this post is to describe these ten advantages.

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Crank Phasing and the Impact on Engine Efficiency

In an Opposed-Piston (“OP”) Engine, two pistons come together within a cylinder and the piston crowns form the combustion chamber.  The most common and widely deployed OP Engine, often referred to as the ‘Junker’s style’ has two crankshafts, one on each side of the cylinder.  Typically the exhaust crank leads the intake piston for effective gas exchange: the exhaust piston opens the exhaust ports when it is near the end of the combustion stroke, allowing blow down.  Next, the intake piston opens the intake ports when it is near the end of its combustion stroke, enabling scavenging.  The two pistons come together for compression.  The crank lead can generally range up to 12° depending on engine design and overall optimization.

Achates Power has conducted a series of test to assess the effect of crank lead on engine efficiency.  With fueling and calibration kept constant, the exhaust crank lead was varied from 3° to 12°, and brake mean effective pressure, indicated mean effective pressure, pumping mean effective pressure, and friction mean effective pressure were analyzed.  The results are depicted in the graph below: there is virtually no difference in BMEP, IMEP, PMEP, and FMEP across the entire exhaust lead sweep.

The historical record:

Martin and Pirault, in their well-researched book, “Opposed Piston Engines: Evolution, Use, and Future Application” describe many OP Engine variations in great detail.  The Jumo 205E, for example had a 9° exhaust crank lead and “set many long distance records…[it] remains the most efficient piston aero engine in aviation.”

Later in the book, Martin and Pirault describe the Fairbanks Morse 38D engine.  At the time of publication, it had 12° exhaust crank lead.  Fairbanks Morse recently announced an upgraded version of the engine which it describes has “best in class fuel efficiency”.

These two examples – perhaps the most widely deployed and best known OP Engines – demonstrate that OP Engines are the most efficient engines in their class, and support the experimental results that exhaust crank lead has little impact on efficiency.

At Achates Power we have recently reviewed two presentations that mistakenly claimed that overall mechanical efficiency of an Opposed-Piston Engine dropped off with increased exhaust crank lead.  The error in their analysis was simple.  Yes, these presentations correctly claim that the torque from the intake crank decreases as exhaust crank lead increases.  However, the torque provided by the exhaust crank increases proportionally and thereby effectively compensates for the intake torque reduction. This factor was ignored in each of those presentations.  Bottom line, total torque at the power takeoff, which is equivalent to the sum of the two crankshaft torques less any gear connection losses remains roughly constant.

Such a corrected analysis can be done kinematically looking at the in-cylinder pressure traces against the position of each piston to its top dead center, confirming our measured data and the experience of others.

CAFE 2025 Regulations Are Achievable with Improved Gasoline Engines

In the recently released Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) draft Technical Assessment Review (TAR) the EPA concluded “the standards can be met largely with more efficient gasoline powered cars...” (LINK) We agree, we will meet, and exceed, future fuel economy and emissions reduction standards with advanced gasoline and diesel engines.

The Achates Power Opposed-Piston Engine has already been shown to achieve industry-best fuel economy gains of 30-50%, significant emissions reductions, and does so more cost effectively than any other solution. With engine programs in development with 12 leading engine manufacturers, we believe the Achates Power Opposed-Piston Engine will provide the foundation to meet the existing and future fuel economy and emissions regulations. As compelling as our engine’s efficiency advantage is, the Achates Power OP Engine will also be less expensive than predicted $1,000 increase from the 2021 baseline that the OEMs currently expect.

The CAFE draft TAR confirmed what many of us in the industry know; we can meet and exceed future fuel economy and emissions requirements with the advanced engine technology in development today. The regulations will help to drive further advancements in and adoption of engine technology, which will benefit everyone. Continuing towards these regulations will help protect the environment by improving fuel economy and reducing emissions, while providing consumers affordable cars and trucks that meet their needs. A no compromises solution.

CAFE 2025

CAFE 2025: Fuel Economy and Emissions Standards for 2025 (Image created by the White House)

OPGCI: An Evolution that Revolutionizes the Internal Combustion Engine

By Fabien Redon and Steve Ciatti

Automakers are working hard to meet pending fuel economy and emissions standards, like CAFE 2025 (54.5 mpg), and investing heavily in new technologies such as electric vehicles and their variants. According to a Frost & Sullivan forecast, however, 105,000,000 passenger and light commercial vehicles will be sold in 2020 – 98.6% of them with internal combustion engines.

Recently the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, announced an award to Achates Power, Argonne National Laboratory and Delphi Automotive, to develop a gasoline compression ignition (GCI) version of the Achates Power opposed-piston engine. The grant is one of the largest awarded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) in its history.

An opposed-piston, gasoline compression ignition (OPGCI) engine has the potential to be a game changer in the powertrain market, with very clean and efficient power. The combination of the two technologies could be the solution to pending emissions and fuel economy regulations and could very well be the internal combustion engine (ICE) that satisfies the challenges of ground mobility for decades to come.

The OPGCI combines proven, efficient technologies in an engine that has the potential to be about 50% more efficient than today’s gasoline engines, with comparable power; torque; noise, vibration and harshness (NVH); and, size. It does this by using the benefits of compression ignition, with a readily available fuel source – gasoline – in the highly efficient opposed-piston architecture, refined by Achates Power. Continue reading

The Reports of (Diesel’s) Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Speculation about the imminent demise of diesel due to the recent VW news is frankly, overblown. Not to dismiss any aspects of the current issue, but we think that this will be a turning point for internal combustion engine efficiency and emissions, and therefore, will ultimately result in better products for consumers and cleaner air for all.

Diesel has long had a reputation as a reliable and efficient fuel. Recent advancements in emissions controls – including exhaust-gas recirculation, selective catalytic reduction, diesel particulate filters and modern computer control – have brought these to levels that, when combined with the efficiency of the fuel, make diesel engines a powerful, efficient and low emissions powertrain choice. One only has to drive the products offered by BMW, Chevrolet, Jeep, Dodge, Ford and others to see that it is possible to meet emissions standards while not sacrificing efficiency and durability.

Electric and hybrid vehicles have so far failed to be the market changer that was promised all those years ago. Costs are still too high and significant consumer behavior and infrastructure changes are still required.  Of course, cleaning up the sources of electricity on a global basis is also no small challenge and until this is done, calls into question the real cleanliness of these vehicles.  Diesel and gasoline internal combustion engines will remain the most popular option for powering vehicles for both the near and the long-term because of the high performance, low cost and the existing infrastructure.

Manufacturers are facing increased pressure to meet stringent and ever increasing global environmental standards without adding additional costs and complexity to their vehicles or manufacturing facilities. Efficiencies such as light-weighting, fuel management, exhaust treatment and others have led to significant improvements, but to meet future demanding regulations a step change in powertrain technology is necessary.

The industry needs to continue looking at ways to reduce emissions without compromising power, utility, and performance. With the Achates Power opposed-piston, two-stroke engine, we can meet the EPA 2010, Euro 6 and Tier 3/LEV 3 regulations, with an engine that is 30 percent more efficient than a comparable diesel engines and 80 percent more efficient than gasoline fueled engines.

While the VW issue is a setback for both clean air and the perception of diesel, the underlying issue is not with the diesel engine technology nor diesel fuel.  Regulators in Europe and the U.S. will increase their vigilance, VW will modify their engine controls and, most customers will not notice a significant decrease in efficiency or performance.

Change in regulations and testing will affect the industry but ultimately be a boon for the end consumer with cleaner, more efficient engines…like the Achates Engine!

The History of The Achates Engine

Meet Dr. James Lemke – a serial entrepreneur with a passion for science, engineering and education and a track record of using scientific and engineering breakthroughs to create new products and companies.
Dr. Lemke founded Achates Power in 2004 with an idea that will revolutionize the automotive industry.  His stroke of genius was recognition that advances in computer aided engineering and engine component technology enable the revitalization of the efficient opposed-piston engine.
Lemke realized that more efficient transportation solutions are required if we are to maximize the utility of the world’s finite petroleum supply, particularly in light of carbon dioxide and climate change concerns. Dr. Lemke started Achates Power with a group of engineers and scientists, and a focus on scientific and engineering fundamentals. As each technical challenge was overcome, skeptics turned into advocates.  Current measurements show a 30% fuel efficiency improvement compared to the industry’s best diesel engines and nearly double the fuel efficiency of a standard gasoline engine with everything else (power, torque, emissions, noise, cost…) held the same.

 

Here is the story of how “light reading” on a Mexican vacation turned into the concept and development of one of the most revolutionary engines of today – The Achates Power Engine.

Defining Success

Recently, Green Car Reports ran an article, Fortune Puts Volt in ‘Dustbin of History’ Despite New Model Coming, which discusses the “success” (or lack thereof) of two different plug-in electric vehicles – the Chevy Volt and the Tesla Model S.  Strangely, it doesn’t even count the Nissan Leaf or the Prius plug-in models.  But I digress.

Maybe from a consumer or environmental standpoint, the most common measure of success is the number of units sold.  But from a business perspective (and I’ll argue that is the key perspective – especially with respect to the environment), the only measure of success is profitability Continue reading