Michelin Backs ‘Eco-friendly Engine’
Michelin has leant financial support to the development of a green engine, which reportedly has the capacity to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 20 per cent. The fuel-lean Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition Engine (HCCI) has a flameless, low temperature combustion which enables it to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, combining the emissions benefits of a gasoline engine with the low fuel consumption of a diesel engine. The HCCI technology has been developed by Dundee based Oxy-Gen Combustion Ltd, with much of the research and development undertaken by the company's managing director David Tonery, who invented the enabling HCCI technology while a mechanical engineering undergraduate at the University of Dundee.
The road to concept and pre-production stage has been helped with the backing of the Michelin Development loans fund – the business development arm of Michelin UK – with up to £30,000 loaned to Oxy-Gen to enable the green engine dream to become a reality. The HCCI technology has already attracted widespread interest from across the automotive industry and only last year was awarded the Shell Springboard Award for Low Carbon Technology and more recently the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Challenge – which opens the door to Oxy-Gen Combustion Ltd to discuss further the concept with leading manufacturers in the automotive industry.
David Tonery, managing director of Oxy-Gen said: “The financial assistance and advice from Michelin Development has played an integral role in the development of this project and helped to get us to the stage we are at. We have developed an engine that has the capacity to revolutionise the automotive industry. The HCCI concept has been around for 30 years but no one has been able to control and sustain the auto ignition process. The Oxy-Gen Combustion has been able to develop a concept that can achieve sustained HCCI operation, paving the way for widespread commercialisation.”
Physical testing of the Oxy-Gen Combustion concept has been conducted at the National Engineering Laboratories Energy Technology Centre in Kilbride and initial test results have revealed the mixture of air and fuel in this system to be so lean that fuel consumption and CO2 can be reduced by a fifth.
David Tonery added: “It’s anticipated that HCCI will be present in at least 40 per cent of all HGV vehicles by 2020 if the technology can be fully developed and we believe similar numbers can be expected in passenger vehicles. The HCCI engine will eventually replace both the spark ignition and compression ignition engines as the single common combustion process for all fuels, either fossil or bio-fuels.”
Mike Cole, Michelin Development UK Director, said: “In providing the loan capital to help get the Oxy-Gen Combustion concept off the ground, we are investing in a technology that could revolutionise motoring and make driving cleaner and greener for generations to come. With such potentially huge benefits to the automotive industry and the environment we are very pleased to support and be involved in this project.”