Team:Dr. John B. Heywood, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Dr. Paul N. Blumberg (formerly Ford Motor Company)Dr. Leslie Bromberg (MIT)Dr. Daniel R. Cohn (MIT)Senator (ret.) J. Bennett JohnstonDr. Neil W. Ressler (formerly Ford Motor Company)
The Ethanol Boosting Systems (EBS) gasoline engine technology developed by researchers MIT Sloan Automotive Lab achieves a fuel effiency close to the efficiency of a turbo-diesel (corrected for the higher energy of diesel fuel). This engine has an ethanol injection system to prevent engine knock during periods of high performance, like hill climbing. With engine knock eliminated, the researchers were able to optimize the power production of the engine through turbo charging (compressing the incoming air to fit more air and gas in the cylinder) so that an engine of a particular size can produce more power. Then they designed the engine with a higher compression ratio, allowing more energy to be obtained an amount of fuel. These improvements allow a much smaller engine to achieve the performance requirements of larger engines and be 30 percent more fuel efficient, comparable to today's hybrids. The additional cost of the engine is also less than the cost of hybrid systems, and the separate ethanol tank would only need to be filled every one to three months with ethanol or E85 - two things that make the engine more cost effective and convenient for the consumer. This engine is also fully compatible as a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) and can use anything 100% gasoline to 100% ethanol without the decrease in fuel economy seen in other FFVs. The performance characteristics of this engine are comparable to the light-duty diesel engines that represent ~50% of the market in Europe, however it costs significantly less to achieve the same emissions reductions compared to the diesel engines while achieving a higher power density and improved starts with lower emissions in cold condistions.
This project not only optimizes the performance of the engine, but it optimizes the size, cost and convenience as well, allowing for large efficiency gains for any automobile that will be more readily accepted than more expensive or complicated solutions for improved fuel economy.
Individuals will benefit this project by saving money while producing fewer emissions using a vehicle with this engine. Society as a whole will benefit the reduced emissions and monetary savings that improve the overall economics of society. The economy will benefit through fuel savings, the expansion of ethanol usage, and improved air quality with less detriment on health. The environment will benefit through reduced emissions, reduced petroleum usage and increased use of ethanol (if produced sustainably).
The initial research project at MIT has become a new startup company, Ethanol Boosting Ssytems LLC, to work with Ford Motor Company testing and developing the project. They hope to have these engines fully tested and in production vehicles in five years. Since this project will affect anyone buying a car, individuals to fleets and governments, this engine can have a huge effect on global transportation efficiency and emissions. Also, since the engine uses ethanol or E85 to achieve the high efficiencies, this will help broaden the use and acceptance of ethanol as a clean alternative to petroleum.
As a whole, this project will expand the use of ethanol - a renewable and much cleaner fuel than gasoline - which will affect everyone the level of individuals to the level of the planet as a whole. Individuals will benefit this project by saving money while producing fewer emissions and using a clean, renewable fuel. Society as a whole will benefit the reduced emissions and monetary savings that translate into a stronger economy through fuel savings, the expansion of ethanol usage, and improved air quality with less detriment on health. The environment will benefit through reduced emissions, reduced petroleum usage and increased use of ethanol (if produced sustainably).
The main ecological advantage of this project is the increased use of clean, renewable ethanol while simultaneously decreasing fossil fuel use and emissions. The social advantages are fuel savings and decreased emissions, leading to better health and global environment. The economic advantages can be seen at the level of the individual with fuel savings, and the level of society as a whole through improved health (due to improved air quality) in addition to the fuel savings that can be reinvested in communities, thus improving the economy. Also, since this efficiency improvement comes at a very low cost to the consumer, the economic payback is very fast, which will speed the adoption of this innovation.
This project decreases petroleum usage and expands the use of ethanol for potentially every automobile sold and used on the planet.