Discover more about the topics and technologies to be discussed at this year's conference, via a series of exclusive interviews with a selection of our expert speakers
Larry Fromm, Executive Vice President of Achates Power, fills us in on the latest developments in the company’s innovative opposed-piston engine, which can run on diesel or gasoline using compression ignition and promises to lower fuel consumption and emissions compared with conventional engines. For more on the Achates Power Opposed-Piston Engine, please see the video, below.
What have been the latest developments in Achates’ opposed-piston engine?
In early 2018 we began testing and development of our 2.7-liter, three-cylinder, six-piston engine designed to fit in a full-size pickup truck (the Ford F-150, the most popular passenger vehicle in the USA). The engine runs on either gasoline or diesel, using compression ignition in both cases and therefore needing no spark plugs. The gasoline version is already the most efficient gasoline passenger vehicle engine in the world, with brake thermal efficiency over 40%, and that figure will still increase, as the powerplant is still very early in its development.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) – California’s environmental protection agency – along with three regional air districts, provided a US$9m grant to an industry team to create a 10.6-liter, three-cylinder opposed-piston (OP) engine based on the Achates Power design (pictured). The engine will operate on diesel fuel for long-haul transport and achieve a 90% reduction in NOx, to 0.02g/bhp-hr (0.027g/bkW-hr), while achieving a 15% reduction in CO2, to 391g/bhp-hr (524g/bkW-hr). These engines are being installed in Peterbilt trucks to demonstrate on the road in 2019.
Both the 2.7-liter engine and the 10.6-liter unit are suitable for off-highway applications. The latter in particular was originally designed for class 8 trucks, making it ideal for vehicles that require more power and torque.
The US Department of Energy has also awarded a team led by Achates Power a grant to develop a hybrid version of the OP engine for passenger vehicles. The inherent balance of the OP engine enables quiet, stable, single-cylinder operation for reduced heat rejection and increased efficiency. The University of Michigan is part of the project team.
Have any OEMs committed to using it commercially? Which ones and when?
Cummins is working with Achates Power to deliver the 1,000hp Advanced Combat Engine to the US Army with series production in 2023. The engine has double the power pack density of any other combat engine, and combines this high power density with high efficiency and low heat rejection.
Fairbanks Morse has launched its Trident OP for power generation and marine applications, with technology licensed from Achates Power. It is the most efficient engine in its class.
There are a number of other OEM applications under development, but I can’t announce these just yet.
Why should we keep investing in piston engines, rather than electric drivetrains?
On a global basis, about 100 million vehicles are produced each year. Nearly all – more than 98% – have a combustion engine. The International Council for Clean Transportation estimates we’ll deploy another three billion engines between now and 2050, so there is still a large need to make them as clean and efficient as possible. That is what the OP engine does.
Larry Fromm will give a presentation titled Advanced engine architecture for on- and off-road reduced emissions as part of the Industrial Vehicle Powertrain Technology Conference. Click here to book your delegate pass, which gives you access to all four conferences. For more on the Achates Power Opposed-Piston Engine, watch the video below.