Researchers at University of Wisconsin may have found the recipe to for cleaner, efficient engines. Lead researcher Rolf Reitz, with the Engine Research Center at UW Madison's School of Mechanical Engineering, says technology which mixes gasoline and diesel fuel in an engine's combustion chamber yields greatly increased efficiency over engines burning just one of those fuels – around twenty percent over diesel engines and more than seventy percent over gasoline engines.
"If you could convert all of our engines to this technology, we're estimating that one could save about a third of the current fuel used, which turns out to be a significant amount of fuel," says Reitz, noting that the U.S. consumes about 20 million barrels every day.
Along with the increased efficiency, says Reitz, comes decreased emissions, always a major consideration for diesel engines. Reitz says the dual fuel technology would allow diesel engines to meet the latest round of emissions regulations from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which requires diesel and gasoline engines to meet the same emissions standards.
Reitz concedes it could be a decade before this dual fuel makes it to the showroom floor. He says Toyota has been working on a similar system, and his UW team has been working with Caterpillar Corporation, which is also interested in the technology.