Steane Klose | Mar 20, 2009

A hod-load of boffins from Lotus Engineering, Continental Powertrain, University College London and Loughborough University have come up with an innovative direct-injection engine that reduces fuel consumption by 15 percent.

They studied the potential efficiency gains of spraying fuel directly into the cylinders of a petrol engine, rather than introducing a fuel/air mixture.

The project - called Hotfire – has now drawn interest from a number of manufacturers.

Mike Kimberley, Lotus CEO, said, “The most important part of the project is that the technologies developed are available and affordable and, as we have already shown, can be easily implemented into next-generation models to produce lower emissions.”

The Hotfire process involves the introduction of fuel separate from air resulting in no fuel loss to the exhaust, reducing hydrocarbon emissions and increasing the engine’s efficiency.

Early results from Hotfire were so successful that the same architecture has been adopted for the Low CO2 project, a collaboration between Lotus Engineering and Continental Powertrain.

This has successfully created a three-cylinder engine that has been installed in an Opel Astra and demonstrated significant improvements in both performance and CO2 emissions.

So there we have it. (And you were thinking maybe that the UK had given away all its manufacturing, drowned all its engineers, put Bozo the Clown in charge of its banking system, and were about to start importing the Hindustani Ambassador so that the impoverished stock-broking classes could afford wheels.)

You live and learn.

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