“World’s cleanest combustion engine”: Meet Achates 10.6-litre, 3-cylinder diesel motor

This engine is designed to take on natural gas, gasoline, diesel as well as hydrogen fuel.

By:Updated: May 19, 2021 4:43 PM

Imagine having a very high-capacity diesel engine, something in excess of eight litres and used in a truck. Now, one can fathom the amount of smoke, huff and puff this engine will make while carrying a trailer bed. What if we told you that a new 10.6-litre, 3-cylinder diesel engine is in development by Achates Power and the company says that this motor is the “World’s cleanest combustion unit”. Less smoke, more fuel-efficient and higher power. On the dyno, this engine hits 440hp of power and a massive 2372Nm of torque. There is potential for more is what Achates says. This diesel engine development started in late 2018 and is funded by Saudi Aramco. Achates took inspiration from the aviation field to build this engine and hence a two-stroke design was selected over the prevalent 4-stroke unit. At present, the engine is being used in the Peterbilt 579, a Walmart delivery vehicle, for testing.

In fact, CALSTART has given this opposed-piston engine an emissions rating of 0.02 grams per brake horsepower-hour limit for ultra-low NOx. The engine is designed to take on natural gas, gasoline, diesel as well as hydrogen fuel. “You can imagine an engine burning hydrogen basically without any after-treatment system requirement and without any actual emissions coming out of the tailpipe.”, Achates Power’s Chief Technical Officer Fabien Redon was quoted as saying.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles may be expensive due to the technology. However, according to Redon, “Another interesting aspect of an internal combustion engine burning hydrogen is that it doesn’t require a very high purity of hydrogen, which opens up the door for low cost hydrogen and different sources of hydrogen as well.” This engine, with hydrogen, though produces a minimal amount of NOx. This can be further reduced by using air recirculation after treatment. The Walmart truck will be rolled out with this particular engine fitted onto it in July.

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