You are on page 1of 5


34 // September 2017 // Engine Technology

What must the IC engine do to survive? To celebrate 20 years of Engine

Technology International, we have come up with 20 all-important things,
factors, points, lessons – call them what you will – that those championing
the life of the IC must embrace if it is to survive much beyond 2037…

Engine Technology // September 2017 // 35


There have been great advances in this area 1
through the application of polymer and nano
coatings, but frictional losses still account
for a considerable percentage of the internal
combustion engine. With so many rotational
components, there are still gains to be made
reducing drag on components.

Mild hybrids powered by 48V architecture
open up a wide variety of design possibilities.
Capable of running auxiliary components, and
even additional items such as anti-roll bars,
the long-awaited move away from a low-
voltage battery stands to revolutionize
IC engine design.


One of the easiest ways of reducing frictional
and pumping losses is in removing belt
drives that take off the crankshaft. ISGs
can introduce regenerative braking, and in 3
combination with a 48V system, introduce
new levels of efficiency and performance
to an ICE. By replacing the starter motor
and alternator, yet more weight is saved
from the front axle too.
4. KEEP THE HEAT The biggest argument against the IC engine
F1 levels of thermal efficiency are almost at is the level of pollutants emitted. There are
50%. Road cars are around 30%. The offset a number of suggestions within this list that
of 20% can surely be explained by costs. all contribute toward its reduction. But the
But the only way costs can be reduced is ultimate dream would be to reuse the waste
by a conscious effort by all manufacturers product and transform it into something
toward a joint end-cause. If thermal useful. Shell and ETH-Zurich’s Solar Jet
efficiencies can be increased, emissions fall program has produced kerosene from carbon
and performance improves. Good enough dioxide using well-known chemical processes. 5
reasons in themselves. Carbon dioxide utilization stands to be one
of the biggest revolutions of the chemical
5. DYING OF CONSUMPTION industry over the next decade, and could
change the future of the ICE by itself.
While this magazine deals predominantly
with new technologies, we do tend to stay
away from the full lifecycle of an engine. Most
prevalent among downsized, highly stressed Reusing motor oil has a potentially huge
turbocharged engines, oil consumption has environmental impact, as does the way in
become a major issue. If consumers need which it is warmed. Much like DEFs, engines
to keep a watchful eye on oil levels, tell operate better at temperature and getting

them. Expecting lay people to understand oil to temperature requires an immense level
the nuances of an engine isn’t acceptable, of energy. Nexcel’s concept goes some way
particularly when sales literature makes a to addressing these shortfalls, but the fact
point of highlighting the car’s ease of use. that one alternative has already highlighted
multiple shortfalls suggests that there
are considerable environmental gains
to be made in this area.

Diesel exhaust fluids (DEF), more commonly
known as AdBlue systems, have helped to
slash the effects of NO X and other harmful
particulates, but they are somewhat of a
flawed solution. Effective above temperatures
of 250°C, the fluids only break down
the exhaust gases once warm, which
can take upward of 15 minutes. Over short
distances, which make up the vast majority 7
of commutes, the fluids are essentially

36 // September 2017 // Engine Technology


Active and rolling cylinder deactivation has
9 been applied to a number of engines now,
from opulent 12-cylinder Vees, to Ford’s
1.0-liter EcoBoost. So why is the technology
not more widespread? As humans, we don’t
run everywhere – we keep it in reserve,
burning less energy as we do so. So why
should an engine be any different? Working
at 100% all of the time leads to an early
grave, regardless of what it is applied to.

11 10
The automotive industry is guilty of not
publicizing its achievements, and when it
does, it’s usually one manufacturer stating
their own government MPG or CO 2 rating. The
industry needs to pool together to promote
useless. New technologies are on the its engineering prowess. Educate the wider
horizon that are effective from much lower public about what the industry achieves and
temperatures – essentially changing the the wider perception of the ICE may change,
impact of diesel all over again. and regulators may be less hasty to point to
the car and yet more time can be dedicated to
9. SYNTHESIZED FUTURE finding a truly viable future propulsion method.
Research into alternatives to fossil fuels
must continue, unabated. But it is currently
coming at too high a price. Palm oil is the Plastic components have become common-
only known alternative to reduce emissions place around a car’s architecture. The
in comparison with diesel, yet the way it materials have been used in a number of
is cultivated is devastating to wildlife and applications, from engine mounts to traverse
the wider environment. Competition against leaf springs, showing that development of
biofuel is increasing, but with it written into plastics has evolved hugely in the past few
legislation across Europe that it must be years. The Polimotor concept of the mid-
blended into ‘normal’ fuels at a rate of 10% 1980s tipped the scales at just 35kg, meaning
12 by 2020, research has to continue into its the potential for weight savings is monumental.
application and production, by law. Biofuels
have the potential to reduce CO 2 emissions 14. INFLUENCE AND GUIDE
by up to 80%, and microalgae has the There’s a cyclical motion in the automotive
potential to answer all of the shortcomings industry that seems to cost millions and
of biofuel: during production and combustion, millions of dollars due to legislators setting
the algae biofuels do not produce sulfur or targets that are then argued about for
nitrous oxides. years before a compromise is met. Social
13 responsibility should be put before vested
10. COMPOUND THE ISSUE interests if the ICE is to survive at all. To
Compound charging has been dabbled with, achieve this, manufacturers must work more
with relative success, by a number of OEMs closely with regulators and legislators to
so far. The higher boost pressures that can ensure the right vision is put in place from the
be achieved by series arranging the two start, rather than waste time and resources
‘chargers, lends itself to smaller engines – debating something that is already in motion.
ones that regulations may continue to force
manufacturers to invest in. With the benefits
of one blower overcoming the shortfalls of
the other, if the complexity and control of

such systems can be further refined, the
system may offer useful benefits.

Engine Technology // September 2017 // 37



Downsizing was the net result of tighter
emissions regulations. The concept has been
disparaged by multiple OEMs already, but yet
oddly-paired engine sizes and body styles still
exist. Tested in isolation, the unit might deliver
a set of figures that look good, but what about
in a family saloon, fully loaded, attempting to
overtake a tractor on an uphill section of a dual
carriageway? It will fall short on emissions,
economy, performance, and ultimately return

on investment for the consumer.

As mentioned earlier, Formula 1 currently
enjoys a very high level of thermal efficiency.
But in a move that mirrors the wider 18. BRING THE NOISE
automotive industry, regulations have reined
in creativity and new solutions. If motorsport For petrolheads, and even some non-
could be used as a true testbed for new petrolheads, sound is one of the most
technologies, rather than being a wholly emotive features of a car. One of the biggest,
new set of rules by which to be build a car, continued counter-arguments to the EV
then progress could be made much faster. movement is the lack of sound, and ultimately
emotion, from electric vehicles. As the
17. BOXED IN trump card that soundless electric motors
simple cannot counter, it needs to be utilized,
One of the main benefits that EVs have capitalized on, and made to be a part of the
over the ICE, although one that hasn’t been buying process.
capitalized on much, is the flexibility they
offer in terms of packaging. The ability 19. SET YOU FREE
to package all the drivetrain beneath a
completely flat floor simply cannot be done Camless valvetrains have been mooted
to the same levels as in an EV. If the IC is by several companies for years, with very
to survive, new arrangements and cleverer little real-world application. In 2016, Qoros
packaging must register at the concept stage. showcased a FreeValve-developed 1.6-liter
turbocharged engine, which featured
Qamfree technology. Some 50% smaller,
17 30% lighter and 50% fewer emissions were
the claimed headline figures, delivered
courtesy of the new valvetrain technology.
The system even allowed for the removal
of the pre-catalytic converter due to the
standard converter being brought up to
temperature much more quickly – positives
any engine would benefit from.


The fact that variable compression has
19 allegedly already been mastered by one
OEM bodes well for the rest of the industry.
The potential gains from being able to switch
cylinder pressures introduces a whole new
flexibility to the ICE. Performance and economy
from an ICE with the same size dimensions as
existing units, sounds perfect.


38 // September 2017 // Engine Technology