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Efficiency Up, Emissions Down

EGeek notes that a direct injection system is well suited for use with gaseous fuels. Such capability is the result of an air injection stage. He refers to1 an injector used in the Orbital Combustion System, upon which this blog previously has reported. It his opinion that direct injection is worthy of greater consideration, “given the price point differential (and how much cleaner) gaseous fuels are in many parts of the world.”

EGeek was commenting upon a post at Green Car Congress about a concept engine, developed with Orbital, which is now on display at Auto China 2008 (the Beijing International Motor Show).

“The concept engine on display at Auto China 2008 incorporates a high-technology twin turbocharger design to enable very high levels of performance while maintaining a desirable flat torque curve across a wide speed range. The combination of engine down-sizing and the FlexDI combustion system can deliver significant fuel economy benefits and offers the potential to utilise both gasoline and other gaseous fuels in the same combustion chamber… The concept engine is part of ChangAn’s advanced technology investigations, with the leading Chinese auto group continuing discussions with Orbital on a possible feasibility assessment of FlexDI technology with the objective of launching further joint engineering activities in 2008/09.”

GCC has informed previously about OCP (Orbital Combustion Process) and how it uses air-assisted, low-pressure direct fuel injection rather than high-pressure injection to atomize the fuel charge. With OCP, fuel is first metered into an injector pre-chamber via a conventional automotive port injector, then air at pressure helps to deliver the fuel charge into the combustion chamber.

The air-assisted injector decouples the fuel metering and delivery events, thereby assisting the dynamic range of the injector, according to Orbital. The Orbital DI system creates a precisely-controlled, finely atomized fuel cloud allowing engines to run with greater fuel efficiently and with reduced emissions output.

The FlexDI system, introduced last October, enables engine manufactures to develop one spark-ignited engine family capable of handling different fuel types through changes to the fuel system. This opens up the potential for manufacturers to offer customers gasoline, ethanol, CNG, hydrogen and SI heavy-fuelled engine variants utilizing the same base engine design. FlexDI can also be configured for Bi-Fuel or Tri-Fuel operation.

Synerject relies upon an ECU made by Siemens VDO
Illustration of Port Injection system using an ECU made by Siemens VDO. To control engine speed at idle and to improve cold-starting the engine cylinder head temp (air-cooled engine) or coolant temperature is measured and supplementary air bypass flow to the engine is controlled by the ABV (Air Bypass Valve).

When Continental purchased Siemens VDO Automotive, it also purchased a 50% ownership of Synerject, and, thus, will continue to manufacture the Engine Control Units that helped to make possible the combustion process that results in reduced emissions and improved fuel economy by means of Orbital Direct Injection.

When Green Car Congress reported that ChangAn Auto is displaying a direct injection system at the Beijing International Motor Show), the reported noted that ChangAn is China’s fourth largest automotive manufacturer and that, overall, Chinese automotive manufacturers now account for approximately 15% of global automotive production. Obviously, Continental would like to be making engine control units for a large portion of direct injection systems, especially as demand increase as more global consumers seek cost-effective technology solutions for emission and fuel consumption control.

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  1. 1Direct Injection as a Retrofit Strategy for Reducing Emissions from 2-Stroke Cycle Engines in Asia (PDF)

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