New valve technology promises cheaper, greener engines

Posted: March 21, 2018 by oldbrew in Emissions, innovation, Travel

VVT engine [image credit:]

This type of technology may not be quite as new as suggested in the report. Various manufacturers have tried it in one form or another.

Technology developed at the University of Waterloo reliably and affordably increases the efficiency of internal combustion engines by more than 10 per cent, says TechXplore.

The product of a decade of research, this patented system for opening and closing valves could significantly reduce fuel consumption in everything from ocean-going ships to compact cars.

“This method has the potential to bring the well-established benefits of a fully variable valve system out of the lab and into production engines because cost and complexity aren’t issues,” said Amir Khajepour, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering at Waterloo.

Intake and exhaust valves in internal combustion engines are typically controlled by cam mechanisms that do not allow the timing of their opening and closing to be varied.

The technology developed by Waterloo researchers replaces cams with hydraulic cylinders and rotary hydraulic valves that enable fully variable timing as the speed and torque of an engine change.

This ability to specifically time the opening and closing of valves according to engine operation is a key to increasing fuel efficiency, reducing both costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

“If you think about an ideal solution, it is to make the motion of the valve completely controllable,” said Khajepour, who is also a Canada Research Chair and director of Waterloo’s Mechatronic Vehicle Systems Lab. “That gives you infinite options to work with.”

Although other systems to vary valve timing already exist, they are limited to use in experimental engines in laboratories due to their high cost and complexity.

Continued here.
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Technology summary – New Fully Flexible Variable Valve Actuation

  1. A C Osborn says:

    If it is any good one of the big Manufacturers may give it a try.
    However retooling away from Cams will take major investment, so the new method will have to offer material and production cost savings as well as a mere 10% fuel saving.

  2. Adam Gallon says:

    Save 10% of the fuel bill for a container ship would be highly advantageous, one would think.

  3. oldbrew says:

    Adam – save 100%…

    Are electric vessels the wave of the future in shipping?

    Maybe not for long distance though 😎

  4. John MacDonald says:

    Can you say “literature search”?
    Variable valve timing has existed on cars, motorcycles, F1 engines, truck engines, etc for decades.
    This must be a lot simpler and cheaper to make this fuss about.
    Or the students in question have never torn down car engines.
    I can believe the latter, which would be sad.

  5. John MacDonald says:

    Is there a link to pictures of it?

  6. Bitter@twisted says:

    The BMW that I had in the 1990s had variable inlet and exhaust valve timing.
    It was called “vanos” if I remember correctly.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Univ. of Waterloo says:

    • Comparable flexibility in valve timings and valve lift as camless
    valvetrains such as electro-hydraulic VVA system.
    • Fail-safe mechanism in the event of electric power failure.
    • Less cost and complexity compared with existing flexible

    Click to access flexible_variable_valve_actuation_7316_march_2017.pdf

  8. ivan says:

    oldbrew, from the article we have this Powered by batteries charged with carbon-free energy, which leaves the question where do they get the ‘carbon-free energy’ from?

    If they are thinking about wind power generation how do they guarantee that is the only supply – private supply lines from wind farms perchance or are they going to build a nuclear power plant gust to supply that ‘carbon-free energy’. I suspect that most of the charging power will come from the normal grid and ‘carbon’ using power plants.

    The only way to have international shipping electric powered is to fit the ships with nuclear power plants like the submarines.

    As John says the idea is in use and has been for a long time. The only advantage this new system would have would be if it is cheaper to produce, easier to setup and have a very long MTBF, if not then it is nothing more than an academic exercise for the students.

  9. Stephen Richards says:

    Variable compression is the holy grail. Variable valve timing helps but is not necessarily important enough to increase unreliability.

  10. Bitter@twisted says:

    Stephen, likeminded the Mazda engine recently featured.

  11. Stephen Richards says:

    Bitter@twisted says:
    March 22, 2018 at 8:10 am

    Nissan infinity also have a variable compression engine in vehicles this year but it’s a very complex system of two crankshafts. Reliability being a function of complexity suggest these engines may not be durable. However, i’m sure they will test them well

  12. Adam Gallon says:

    Since the trend is more & more towards cars with a limited lifespan, say 10 years, before they’re scrapped, then at the average of 7,900 miles a year, as long as it can last for say 100,000 miles, it’ll be regarded as sufficiently durable.

  13. oldbrew says:

    Adam – if not scrapped, then regulated out of existence 😉

  14. Dave Ward says:

    The letters “VVT” have been displayed on a number of Toyota cars for a decade at least, so the principle is by no means new. I think Lotus? have been playing around with solenoid operated valves, too.

    [reply] since 1991 –

  15. Bitter@twisted says:

    Adam my car was made in 1962.
    Still going strong.
    Engine has done a near interplanetary mileage and has had one rebuild, in 1990.
    No fancy electronics, or trick camshafts, but can still do over the “ton”.
    What is more it is appreciating in value and has zero road tax.

  16. ntesdorf says:

    Certainly a more advantageous step than trying to re-introduce expensive, unreliable, sporadic, inefficient, bird killing Wind Turbines.

  17. oldbrew says:

    An all-new 2.0-liter 168-hp four-cylinder debuts with the Corolla Hatchback too and it sounds like a neat motor. It uses both direct- and port-injection and runs a fairly high 13.0:1 compression ratio. It also has variable valve timing that uses an electric motor to move intake valves, rather than oil. There’s variable valve timing on the exhaust side too, but it’s a more traditional system.
    . . .
    …the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is based on the European-market Auris

  18. Pcar says:

    Sounds very similar to this: