Single-cylinder monoblock unit could improve efficiency for biofuel motors
26 February 2009

Lotus has revealed a radical, highly efficient flex-fuel engine concept, called the Omnivore engine, that it will put on display at the Geneva motor show next week.

The technology behind the Omnivore concept, Lotus claims, has the potential to dramatically increase the fuel efficiency of biofuel engines.

The Omnivore engine is a direct-injection two-stroke unit, and it is notable for two particularly innovative features: a variable compression ratio and a monoblock construction.

Saab pioneered the variable compression ratio idea with a hinged block, but the Lotus Omnivore concept is more simple. The Omnivore uses a puck at the top of the combustion chamber, which moves up and down, affecting the compression in the engine depending on the loads placed on the motor.

The Omnivore engine’s monoblock construction, meanwhile, eliminates the need for a head gasket, which both reduces weight and improves the engine’s fuel efficiency.

“We are delighted to unveil this major milestone in the development of an engine configuration for a new breed of more efficient multi-fuel engines,” said Mike Kimberley, Group Lotus’s CEO. “Sustainable alcohol-based fuels have the potential to reduce the overall CO2 footprint of internal combustion engines towards zero, and for this reason they need to be embraced as future fuels for road transport.”

Matt Rigby

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