Australia’s Orbital Corporation has improved the fuel efficiency of an engine from China’s second-largest vehicle manufacturer by up to 40 percent as a part of its second-stage cooperative development program.

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Perth-based Orbital has been working in collaboration with Chongqing Changan since early 2009 and was commissioned to help make the manufacturer’s new Intelligent Compound Combustion System (ICCS) engine meet the country’s upcoming Stage III Fuel Consumption Regulations.

The regulations demand an increase in fuel economy of around 20 percent by 2012. Recent tests by Changan of Orbital’s enhanced ICCS engines have shown a 27 percent reduction in fuel use at 2000rpm (typical driving load) and a 40 percent reduction at idle. Peak torque has also risen 10 percent.

Orbital’s Changan project manager, Nick Coplin, explained the improvements were a result of the application of the Orbital’s unique FlexDI direct-injection fuel system, as well as a number of other advanced technologies.

“Conventional direct-injection systems inject fuel at extremely high pressure in order to achieve the small fuel droplet size needed to improve efficiency and reduce particulate emissions," he said.

"Orbital's FlexDI overcomes these issues by injecting the fuel at comparatively low pressure and utilising air pressure to atomise the mixture as it is delivered to the combustion chamber.”

Orbital’s ICCS engine incorporates some of the most advanced ‘efficient technologies’ in the world, including variable valve timing and lift, exhaust gas recirculation and low friction components.

Mr Coplin said the FlexDI system was well suited to China’s developing automotive environment as – unlike many other direct-injection systems – it does not demand premium unleaded fuel.

“With FlexDI, a cleaner and more efficient combustion occurs without the need for higher quality fuels,” he said.
"Significant improvements in fuel consumption can still be achieved with FlexDI by using lean burn in combination with a three-way catalyst after-treatment approach.”

ICCS project and vice director of Changan Auto Research Institute, Dr Zhan, said the jointly developed FlexDI ICCS engine had the potential to offer best-in-class fuel consumption in China.

Orbital Corporation is one of the leading engine technology developers in Australia. Its LPG division, Orbital Autogas Systems, is the original equipment LPG engine system supplier to HSV as well as Ford’s upcoming EcoLPi range.