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Lotus, Jaguar turn omnivore

Just the start: Lotus Exige 270E Tri-fuel produces 201kW/260Nm on a mixture of petrol, bio-ethanol and methanol

Jaguar, Lotus and Queen's Uni co-develop bio-alcohol variable-compression two-stroke

Lotus logo9 Sep 2008

JAGUAR Cars and Lotus Engineering are working with Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to develop an engine that maximises fuel efficiency when running on renewable fuels.

Dubbed the “Omnivore”, the research engine is a single-cylinder design with a variable compression ratio system and two-stroke operating cycle with direct fuel-injection.

According to Lotus, the Omnivore will be ideally suited to flex-fuel operation, with a high thermal efficiency when fuelled on ethanol or petrol.

Due to be completed in January next year, the engine is expected to significantly increase fuel efficiency for sustainable bio-alcohol fuels.

“The requirement to operate on gasoline in today’s flex-fuel engines limits their thermal efficiency when operating on alcohol fuels,” said Lotus Engineering head of powertrain Geraint Castleton-White.

“However, the physical and chemical properties of alcohols, when compared to gasoline, provide the potential for higher thermal efficiency operation to be achieved.

“This single-cylinder research engine will investigate a highly thermal-efficient combustion system that optimises engine performance to fully exploit the properties of both gasoline and alcohol fuels and maximise efficiency.” The program complements the Lotus Exige 270E Tri-fuel concept unveiled at the Geneva motor show earlier this year.

The high-performance 270E features a 201kW/260Nm version of the familiar Toyota-sourced 1.8-litre supercharged four-cylinder that runs on a mixture of petrol, bio-ethanol and synthetic methanol.

Renowned for its performance through lightweight vehicle construction, the British sportscar-maker is now concentrating its research efforts on alternative powertrains, particularly internal combustion engines that are optimised for bio-fuels.

“Alcohols possess superior combustion characteristics to gasoline which allow greater optimisation,” said Group Lotus CEO Mike Kimberley.

“Taking full advantage of the benefits of sustainable bio-alcohols will ensure a greater percentage of vehicle miles will be travelled using renewable fuels.”

Read more:

Geneva show: Lotus unveils green Exige


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