Automotive

Eco-Motive's H-Motor splits a dual-fuel engine into two more efficient halves

Eco-Motive's H-Motor splits a ...
Eco-Motive's dual-fuel H-motor splits the engine into two more efficient halves
Eco-Motive's dual-fuel H-motor splits the engine into two more efficient halves
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Fill up the CNG side of the H-motor at a home compressor
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Fill up the CNG side of the H-motor at a home compressor
Fill up the gasoline side of the H-motor at a petrol station
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Fill up the gasoline side of the H-motor at a petrol station
Twin fuel tanks for the H-motor's dual-fuel engine
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Twin fuel tanks for the H-motor's dual-fuel engine
Each cylinder bank can be tuned for a single fuel source, and the resulting power goes through a selector gearbox before heading to the main transmission
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Each cylinder bank can be tuned for a single fuel source, and the resulting power goes through a selector gearbox before heading to the main transmission
Eco-Motive's dual-fuel H-motor splits the engine into two more efficient halves
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Eco-Motive's dual-fuel H-motor splits the engine into two more efficient halves
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American inventor Herns Louis has come up with an interesting way to reduce inefficiencies inherent in regular dual-fuel motors. His H-motor design features two cylinder banks, each running on a single fuel source – so the left can be tuned for power and efficiency on gasoline, and the right can be tuned for CNG.

Dual fuel engines are nothing new; my first car nearly 20 years ago was a canary yellow Holden Kingswood that ran either Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) or petrol, and I'd happily fill up the LPG tank for less than seven dollars. Happier times!

But engines designed to run on multiple fuel sources are compromised; they must be tuned to suit one fuel or the other, or something in between, and this can end up leading to significant power and efficiency losses.

That's the thinking behind Eco-Motive's new engine, which inventor Herns Louis is calling "the world's first dual-fuel 'H' power plant."

This engine design, which Louis says can be adapted to run with "any internal combustion engine with an even number of cylinders," is actually effectively two engines, because each bank of cylinders is set up to run solely on a single fuel source.

Each cylinder bank can be tuned for a single fuel source, and the resulting power goes through a selector gearbox before heading to the main transmission
Each cylinder bank can be tuned for a single fuel source, and the resulting power goes through a selector gearbox before heading to the main transmission

Thus, the left bank can be tuned to maximize power and efficiency for petrol, and be fed from the petrol tank, and the right bank can be tuned for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and run from the CNG tank.

Each side is controlled by an engine selector gearbox, which connects to the main transmission. The driver chooses which engine is running with a switch, and there's one fuel filler cap on either side of the car, which … could get a bit annoying.

There's no mention of running both sides of the H-engine concurrently for maximum power, so any efficiency gains will have to be significant to offset the weight penalty of an extra cylinder bank.

We're not sure we agree with Louis that the H-motor is "a leap forward that is as revolutionary as Henry Ford's adoption of the assembly line," but it's certainly an interesting idea.

View gallery - 5 images
7 comments
Jay Gatto
All that weight, and inertia of the gearing! I'm reminded of turbines, that will run on anything, even coal dust.
Mel Tisdale
It may be "a leap forward. . ." but it is a leap too far. There are several ways of ensuring that the engine is fuelled correctly for each fuel. For instance, if one fuel will tolerate a higher compression ratio, one could arrange for the inlet valve to have a choice of two camshafts each with its own manifold. Each camshaft could have variable timing and different amounts of delayed closure dwells on the cams' noses. That way it would be possible to tune it to just before the onset of pre-ignition or detonation for each cam shaft.
Two inlet manifolds guarantees the possibility to tune it specifically for the fuel it is using at any one time.
You could even have a diesel engine that could duel fuel with gasoline. In fact I believe that there are some buses somewhere with diesel engines dual fuelled with propane or methane - I forget which.
If there is no required difference in compression ratio, then a simple plenum chamber fed by individual fuel metering is about all you would need to guarantee correct fuelling.
Indeed, having gone the pretty route to this point, so to speak, there is nothing to stop having two sets of injectors and associated control electronics.
Facebook User
Wouldn't it be better to have dual tuning systems (or an adaptable Engine Control Unit) instead of two banks of cylinders? I'm not an engineer and don't know how to tune an engine (ICE) but it seems to me that it shouldn't be too hard what with the Engine Control Units and computers in cars nowadays.
Stephen N Russell
Mass produce & lisc to other auto makers for use Radical.
Mel Tisdale
On reflection, I think I am wrong to countenance one inlet valve having two camshafts. It is possible, but simple it isn't. Two inlet valves each with its own camshaft would work though. - Sorry
Sonofdawn
Judging by the gearing, both of the crankshafts turn in the same direction, so unlike ordinary engines in the h configuration, the rotating masses of each engine don't help to balance each other out.
Slowburn
We already have variable valve timing, variable ignition timing, add variable boost control and the programing to adjust it all and you don't need to drag all the extra weight around.