News and Reviews

AICE: Allying for More Efficient Engines

July, 2014

When you buy cars, there are a lot of things to consider, but whether it’s to save some money or because you want to save the planet, fuel efficiency is something that has begun to factor more and more in the decision making process when it comes to buying your next car.

The top car companies from Japan agree, and they’ve created an alliance focused on improving fuel efficiency across their brands. This alliance is called the “Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines” (AICE) and includes Mitsubishi, Mazda, Toyota, and Honda (among others). It has the financial backing of the Japanese federal government, and some major Japanese universities are assisting with research in new technologies and engineering. Their main aim is to make internal combustion engines (both petrol and diesel) 30% more efficient by the year 2020.

The companies will band together to pay for 50% of the research costs (the program is currently set at 1 billion yen, or 10.6 million AUD), and will share basic research on how to improve efficiency until the moment the more fuel efficient power trains go into production.

One of the main targets of the program is to increase the thermal efficiency of engines, which in turn will result in better fuel economy. The hope is that more energy will be able to be captured during the combustion process, and, if nothing goes wrong, this will allow for better engine output. AICE is hoping that, by the end of their research, they will have reached 50% thermal efficiency, as compared to the current best of 39% in petrol engines and 42% in diesels.

The key aims of AICE’s diesel program are to lower nitrogen oxide emissions as well as eliminating particulate matter. Meanwhile, the petrol program will focus on improving combustion cycles and reducing the knock on the engines.

Should AICE be successful, they could go a long way to ensuring that new cars save their drivers’ money, as well as reducing the emissions harmful to our planet. That’s two important birds with one billion yen stone.

Do you think a similar research program should be implemented in Australia?

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