Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chinese company develops two hybrid diesel

Guangxi Yuchai Machinery Company Limited, a subsidiary of China Yuchai International has developed two diesel hybrid engines. The first hybrid engine uses natural gas and diesel while the second engine is a more traditional hybrid combining electricity and diesel.

Guangxi Yuchai Machinery Company Limited (GYMCL) just announced the two hybrid engines both of which deviate from typical hybrids. Hybrid cars made by Toyota, Honda, and Ford use electric/gasoline engines. Nor do any car companies have a hybrid that combines natural gas with gasoline or diesel.

The natural gas/diesel engine, unlike the GYMCL engine shown above, can be run using either the combo fuels or, with the flick of a switch, diesel only. The combination natural gas/diesel setting gives increased fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions.

This hybrid engine was developed for use in buses and trucks and is expected to be used in areas where natural gas is plentiful. The first units have been delivered to the Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., Ltd for use in its nine meter buses.

The other hybrid is an ISG electric/diesel engine that uses an integrated starter/generator (ISG) to turn the engine off when the car is stopped and to turn it back on when the accelerator is pressed.

This second engine functions more like an electric/gasoline engine since it is electronically controlled. The engine has both diesel and electric propulsion systems that are controlled by the ISG. This hybrid engine is expected to deliver 20 percent better performance over straight diesel engines. The company has not said whether this engine is intended only for large vehicles like the natural gas/diesel engine or if it will be suitable for smaller vehicles, as well.

Natural gas is currently used in cars and buses but usually as the only fuel source with specially modified systems. The Metropolitan Atlanta Transit Association (Marta) has several natural gas buses as do many other municipalities. The Honda Clarity FCX sedan has a natural gas engine and a modified trunk to hold the gas canister.

Although diesel is fairly easy to find worldwide, natural gas refill stations are much harder to find although they do exist. Presumably, China will be installing the infrastructure needed to provide natural gas for these large vehicles.

Whether this technology will expand outside of China is unknown as is the demand for such technology. Until the first vehicles housing these two new hybrid engines actually hit the road, no one knows if the engines will indeed perform to expectations or deliver only unkept promises.

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