French automaker Renault showcased a range of research prototypes at its recent Innovations@Renault event that included a lightweight two-cylinder turbo diesel engine that will offer improved fuel consumption, lower CO2 emissions and a 50% reduction in engine size compared to the company’s popular 1.5-litre diesel unit.
The 730cc prototype engine being developed with a number of industrial partners is 40kg lighter and more compact than the 1.5-litre engine, thereby making it ideally suited to small vehicle platforms. The reduction in the number of components means the cost price is brought closer to that of a petrol engine, stated the company.
The most efficient engines, which are widespread in large ocean vessels such as container ships, are two-stroke diesels. Their efficiency is close to 50%, while four-stroke automotive diesels struggle to achieve 35%. Making two-stroke engines small enough to adapt to automotive applications is the aim of the POWERFUL (POWERtrain for FUture Light-duty vehicles) project.
Initial results are promising, claims Renault, however the company pointed out that it is still at the research phase. “It must be noted that performance is not yet sufficiently strong, since it is merely an exploratory study at this juncture.”