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European EAGLE project to develop gasoline engine with 50% peak efficiency; Renault to manufacture prototype

15 June 2017

European researchers have launched a new project to obtain a gasoline engine at least 20% more efficient than current engines and adapted for future electrified powertrains. The EAGLE (Efficient Additivated Gasoline Lean Engine) European research project is led by the French research organization IFP Energies nouvelles, with the participation of eight partners from Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

The EAGLE project will combine and evaluate different advanced technologies to achieve its aim of developing an innovative engine able to deliver peak brake thermal efficiency of 50% while reducing particulate and NOx emissions and while using a conventional engine architecture. It will also reach real driving Euro 6 values with no conformity factor.

Among these technologies, EAGLE will consider using hydrogen as an additional fuel to boost and stabilize ultra-lean combustion, as well as developing a pre-chamber ignition system. EAGLE will tackle several challenges focusing on:

  • Reducing engine thermal losses through a smart coating approach.

  • Reaching ultra-lean combustion (lambda > 2) with very low particulate (down to 10 nm) emissions by innovative hydrogen boosting.

  • Developing breakthrough ignition system for ultra-lean combustion.

  • Investigating a close loop combustion control for extreme lean limit stabilization.

  • Addressing and investigating NOx emissions reduction technologies based on a tailor made NOx storage catalyst or using H2 as a reducing agent for SCR.


Another of the project objectives is to reduce heat losses during combustion by applying an insulation coating to certain parts of the combustion chamber, and to predict to what extent this technique will effectively contribute to increase the engine efficiency.

For this, advanced coating materials with extremely low thermal conductivity and heat capacitance properties have to be assessed in order to ensure that the surface temperature fluctuates in phase with the temperature of the combustion gases, and so reduce heat losses.

The project foresees as well the development of a catalytic converter compatible with lean combustion and the use of hydrogen as a component to reduce NOx emissions.

This new concept will help the European automobile industry to reach the next objective of 50g CO2/km emissions and to stay within legislation on particle and nitrogen oxide emissions on hybrid vehicles.

—Jean-Marc Zaccardi, researcher at IFP Energies nouvelles and coordinator of the project

At the present time the maximum efficiency of gasoline engines is around 40%. The remainder of the energy is lost; EAGLE researchers aim is to reduce this wasted power produced by combustion, said Alberto Broatch full professor at the Research Institute CMT-Motores Térmicos of the Universitat Politècnica de València.

The ultimate objective is to increase engine efficiency while keeping emissions within the present limits and anticipating the future standards for real driving emissions.

—Cédric Libert, who is responsible for the project at Renault

The EAGLE project, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Program, got under way last October and will continue until beginning of the year 2020. In addition to the evaluation and simulation phases performed by the universities and the material and technology suppliers, the final assessment of the EAGLE concept will be conducted on a prototype engine manufactured by Renault.

In addition to the French coordinating organization IFP Energies nouvelles and the multinational OEM Renault, the other partners involved in the EAGLE project are the companies:

  • Saint-Gobain Centre de Recherche et d’Etudes Européen (France);
  • Continental Automotive GmbH (Germany);
  • Continental Automotive France SAS (France);
  • FEV Europe GmbH (Germany);

as well as the following university groups:

  • the Research Institute CMT-Motores Térmicos of the Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain);
  • the Engine Simulation Team (EST) of the Universitá degli Studi di Napoli Federico II (Italy);
  • the Institute for Combustion Engines (VKA) of the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen (Germany).

June 15, 2017 in Emissions, Engines, Fuel Efficiency, Hydrogen | Permalink | Comments (23)


Projects such as these that have a responsibility to spend resources upon the least risk of failure. So, they start with conventional engine and conventional fuel. In as much as my understanding the fuel is half the problem.

A point of interest being that E85 Cummins engine that EPA California developed had advantages that the gasoline version could never accomplish. Lower NOx, extreme torque, small size, highest efficiency besting diesel, and very low carbon footprint. I do know lean burn with 100% ethanol is more predictable especially with high energy ignition. PMs have always been only a cold start issue with ethanol and that being a condition of an engine operating and designed for gasoline. The molecular chemistry of ethanol is much simplified given the purity of fuel and single simple molecular chemistry. I guess all of this is just to big of a bite to accomplish, but we do need to start developing optimized ethanol engines. It should have been started and progressed a decade ago. I bet if that were so, we would be currently enjoying a less costly vehicle that pollutes less and operates on cheaper fuel.

This article is about a gasoline engine. Why do you bring up E85 in this context? Please stick to the topic if you want to comment on the article. I will do that in my comments below.

In my view, this is definitely a high-risk project. If it was low-risk, Renault, or any other car manufacturer for that matter, would do the homework themselves without telling anybody and simply start production as quick as they could, if the project was a success.

Ideas like this one has been around for quite some time. It looks like a diesel engine, it walks like a diesel engine and it quacks like a diesel engine, albeit it is still not quite a diesel engine. In any case, they need most of the “internal” engine features and exhaust aftertreatment to reduce emissions. These are, e.g., high lambda, EGR (various kinds, presumably also internal EGR), particle filter, NOx storage catalyst and SCR. As for a diesel engine. The Euro 6d emission limit might seem as a great challenge but recall that you simply need to fulfil this limit if you want to sell new cars. Both conventional gasoline and diesel cars will fulfil this regulation. A more progressive approach would be to aim at something we think could be enforced by Euro 7. After all, it will take such a long time to reach production anyway that you would have to think about further emission reductions by then. One should also recall that there have been several research programs aiming at 55 % efficiency for diesel engines in the past but none of these features (including thermal barrier coatings) has yet reached production status. Reaching efficiencies in the 50-55 % range is not easy. I acknowledge that they try!

Pete, no one elected you king, cool it.

This is not a diesel engine or a Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engine.
You may recall that Hyundai, Delphi, Rolf Reitz, and others worked extensively on the the Gasoline Compression Ignition Engine and the research did not yield a production engine.

This sounds exactly like Formula One technology (mostly based on the Mahle/Cosworth Jet Turbulent Ignition, lean burn concepts). Renault knows all about this technology and would like to apply this to non-racing engines.

Diesel engines PM and NOX pollution even with SCR do not meet current limits in real world operation. Natural Gas Lean Burn engines meet these limits easily. However, there has not been widespread adoption of these engines.
If Hybrid, Lean Burn Gasoline engines with 50% thermal efficiency and ultra low emissions can be developed particularly for Long range Class 7 trucks where current EV tech is not yet practical, there could be a large market.

Six cycle would do it.

This is exactly what i said to do some weeks ago. Learn to do hydrogen cheaply and use it in bi-fuel hydrogen-gas engines

There isn't enough bio-ethanol for a large-scale push to E85 engines.

Methanol is even better than ethanol for combustion characteristics and engine specific power.  It's far easier to make, requiring only syngas over a Cu-ZnO-alumina catalyst; the syngas can be made from almost anything, not just starches.  There's plenty of experience with M85.

The only reason to bother with EtOH is as a sop to the farm lobby.  Maybe they can be assuaged by creating a market for their excess straw and corn stover as feedstock for syngas.

Diesel engines with DPF are far below the PM limit for real-world (RDE) limits. This is not by a small margin; we are talking about levels at least 90% lower than the current limit. PM (and PN) is mainly a problem for gasoline cars. Recall that the PN limit has been set 10x higher for gasoline cars in the EU but it will now be reduced to the same level as for diesel cars. This is why mass production of GPFs starts this autumn. This is for Europe, of course; not for the USA, where EPA do not bother about small particles.

At least some diesel cars meet the RDE limits for NOx by considerable margin. NEDC/WLTP limit is 0.08 g/km and RDE stage 1 limit is 0.168 g/km and stage 2 is 0.12 g/km. One of the “best” diesel cars on the market is the new Mercedes E220. It has NOx emissions, on average in various RDE driving patterns, at ~0.04 g/km. This is about 75% lower than stage 1. Of course it is possible to have low NOx also from a diesel car.

Etoh, it is a simple molecule, is it not? What is the chemical molecule for gas or diesel? Ethanol has an inherent advantage with lower NOx as a portion of the fuel is liquid oxygen. This is better than relying on 100% air with 78% nitrogen for NOx.

Gasoline and diesel suffer with varying compounds that do vary from well head to well head and upon the technology or operation parameters of the refinery. In early days gasoline was so crude it was dangerous and unpredictable. Standard Oil technology greatly improved the consistency and quality of petrol fuel, but the variances are still huge when attempting to minimize tail pipe emissions per consistent process. Benzene has a big influence upon BC and that portion is totally up to the refinery that attempts to crack and blend to highest profit margins.

I just read an article that claimed corn ethanol by its self could double production if allowed to do so and motorist could chose desired ethanol blends. On GCC they published the news on a new consortium established to achieve technology for improve test results within the area of improving fuel. They believe a mix, probably with mid level alcohol blends will greatly improve the emissions and efficiency of ICE. The fuel is the problem.

Well, ethanol is definitely not a “clean-burning” fuel. It has its issues - many issues BTW. Apparently some of you did not bother to read the report I posted as a comment to an earlier article. Shortly, emissions of PAH – note that many of these compounds are carcinogenic – are much, much higher than from gasoline during cold starts at low ambient temperatures. Considering that PAH emissions are the main cause of cancer from vehicle exhaust – much more so than benzene – ethanol proponents should keep this in mind. Solve this problem first, and then push for a large-scale introduction. Fuel and engine must be co-developed. This has not happened (yet) for E85, for blends or for pure ethanol (E100). Fuel switching is not necessary the solution to all our problems. By the end of the day, most alternative fuels can only displace a small part of the fuel pool in the foreseeable future. There are simply not enough natural resources available. Thus, we have to solve the problems of emissions from gasoline and diesel fuels. And we are, in fact, a long way on this route already.

Another aspect that's generally not considered with volatile fuels like gasoline and ethanol is the waste through simple evaporation of the fuel.

According to EIA (, 385 million gallons/day of motor gasoline are consumed in the U.S. That's about 140,500,000,000 gallons of gasoline consumed by the U.S. vehicle fleet per year.

According to EPA, 49.7 grams of VOCs are produced per million BTU of gasoline (~5.7 g/gal); 7.9 g VOCs are produced per million BTU of diesel (0.95 g/gal) (EPA, "Draft Joint Technical Support Document: Proposed Rulemaking for 2017-2025 Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards." (Table 4-12, page 4-42 [366 of 479])).

140,500,000,000 gallons X 5.70 g/gal = 882,770 tons of VOC WTP per year from the fuel gasoline. Hypothetically switching the light-duty vehicles in the U.S. to diesel could reduce WTP VOC emissions to (140,500,000,000 gallons X 0.95 g/gal) = 147,129 tons/year. 882,770 tons - 147,129 tons = 735,640 tons/year or almost 237,300,000 gallons/year of gasoline not evaporated as VOC. This does not take into account the demonstrably higher VOC emissions of gasoline vehicles during vehicle refueling, diurnal + hot soak, and running loss.

That's almost three supertanker ships full. Not only is this a colossal waste of a valuable resource, VOCs contribute to ground-level ozone production and secondary PM2.5 (secondary organic aerosols).

You really see the evaporation when you drive a PHEV and go without using the engine for days and weeks at a time.  I've had the difference between the use reported by the trip computer and the numbers on the gas pump be close to 2 gallons.

@EP, would you be better off with a diesel PHEV in that case ?
[ If one existed ]

I read the VOCs are a bigger problem, also. I think it was for health, not GHG? Gasoline vapor rated a potent carcinogen.

Again this begs the question, why isn't the EPA pushing high ethanol blends. E85 RVP is but a fraction of gasoline. I guess this still brings us back to the fuel is the problem. When changing a fuel pump, I always run a tank of straight E85 before hand to limit explosive limit of temperature/fumes. It is amazing the clean air smell and minimal fumes as compared to raw gas.

The seasonal boutique blending of fuels and refinery changeover would be a thing of the past if utilizing high ethanol blended fuel. Since, electrifying our vehicles will reduce fuel consumption, may it be time to develop the E100 engine and rely on renewable fuel that is a superior grade for power, health and the environment. I would hope so and it makes sense even for high torque truck engines.

The tail pipe emissions of higher ethanol blends are indeed less toxic as compared to plain gasoline. Urban Air Initiative has been pushing for higher blends of ethanol for years. They have been hot on the trail of EPA per their test reports with petrol test fuel. I guess they haven't learned to utilize real world testing yet, despite the diesel debacle. Best I could tell, EPA let petrol brewed up a test fuel for their testing use as their is no standard chemical formulation for gasoline, so petrol came up with a their own recipe and supplies that test fuel with rock solid formulation. It looks like the brew is concocted to maximize the emission if ethanol is present. The bad emissions are generated by petrol, but it looks as if ethanol is the bad actor. Urban Air's independent testing with real consumer fuel disproves the EPA test results and provides data on what the tricky is. This is but one such post. Their does seem to much unholy alliance within the EPA and petrol. The agency seems to have factions.

I don't know about diesel.  The thing that would really fix evaporative emissions is a sealed fuel system.  Perhaps LPG is the ultimate?

A large portion of VOCs are generated by petrol supply chain. For example, remember the oil tankers that were blowing up? The fracked oil contains a larger than normal percentage of volatile gases that bubble up after experiencing rail transport shock, heat, and low pressure. They have to vent gases before unloading. The gasoline supply chain is extremely long and at every juncture emitting VOCs.

Compare this to, quite often a very short supply chain for E85. My processor transports E85 directly from the plant, maybe a 100 mile radius at maximum. The VOCs of E85 are minimal.

Also, blender pumps could solve a ton of supply chain VOCs. The petrol industry does produce a large quantity of low vapor pressure gasoline. This subpar grade will eventually need the addition of ethanol to make a quality fuel. So, petrol could lower their RVPs within their fuel supply chain, thus minimizing VOCs. The fueling station has a tank of ethanol or E85 and low vapor gasoline. The customer can select their ethanol content at the pump and their octane boost. This is just common sense and a point you would think the EPA would have jurisdiction. Nope, they are buffeted by politics and money. Indeed a storm of concern to quell, and as a result suffer to much compromise and ineptitude. Better to do nothing as not to PO the powerful (mostly political). The political are greased with money, so petrol gets what they want. They want their "premium" fuels at the pump. Oh, and these have the highest VOCs. So, who is working/representing who?

Funny, I've read the opposite:  EtOH-blended fuels get a waiver on maximum vapor pressure and account for far more evaporative emissions than pure petroleum (summer blend).

Here's a paper I've had no time to read in full, but which may shed some light on all these matters:

Here's a slide presentation from Japan which claims that evaporative emissions are roughly the same with Reid vapor pressure held constant:

USGOV claims that E85 has lower vapor pressure than E10, so that's something.  But between E0 and E10 there's a big jump in RVP which has to be made up by removal of lower-boiling fractions of gasoline.  This increases the cost of gasoline and lowers the efficiency of refining, as those fractions must either be reformed to heavier molecules (takes energy), sold as lower-value products or burned for process heat.

The '92 Tech report is out of date. The refueling emissions slide show is ok, but VOC emissions from petrol's entire supply chain is the concern as well. Yes, ethanol at low percentages will increase vapor pressure and lower vapor pressure with higher percentages of ethanol. The ethanol blend stock is cheaper then plain gasoline as ethanol is a cheaper octane boost. Also, plain gasoline has needed an oxygenate per EPA regulations to decrease emissions. Historically, ethanol has been utilized for this. EPA dropped the regulation as the base fuel for the country is now E10.

Lower cost of fuel is the direct result of ethanol blended into gasoline. That fact remains constant in favor of ethanol blends. Ethanol has a running tally on the fuel savings. E15 is 3-5 cents per gallon cheaper yet than E10. E30 is the hallmark for a great low ethanol blend fuel. Great price and a great for eliminating the fuel bottleneck upon engine efficiency. The fuel is also that much more renewable and environmentally friendly. Also, that much less expensive. Its' race fuel petrol competitor sells for 2x more and suffers horrible emissions. Since stock car racing has converted to E15 fuel the track has better air quality. This per personal opinions of race fans.

This could be a worthwhile project. Check the EAGLE Project objectives:
• Reducing engine thermal losses through a smart coating approach
- possibly using Diamond Like Coating (DLC).
• Reaching ultra-lean combustion (lambda > 2) with very low particulate, i.e. PN (down to
10 nm) emissions by innovative hydrogen boosting.
- Hydrogen Boosting possibly using a "Reformer", e.g. Plasmatron: MIT, Arvin Meritor.
• Developing breakthrough ignition system for ultra-lean combustion
- Turbulent Jet Ignition researched by Mahle, used in Formula One to achieve > 45%
• Investigating a close loop combustion control for extreme lean limit stabilization
- FEV (a team member) has an EGR control system.
• Addressing and investigating NOx emissions reduction technologies based on a tailor
made NOx storage catalyst or using H2 as a reducing agent for SCR.
- Studies by Terry Alger (SWRI) on H2 Enriched Dedicated-EGR show reduced NOx
emissions and exhaust temperatures.

Though not mentioned, Renault could also bring in the Nissan Variable Compression engine (it has a strategic partnership with Nissan), which would also help these lean burn, high compression concepts.

An interesting project; however, at this stage, one should make spending decisions based on the future. And the future is not in ICEs, no matter the claimed efficiency levels. Electric drive is the future, not ICEs with high hydrogen content. I'm amazed at the extent companies will go to continue the status quo as long as possible for the benefit of the oil interests.

The future is not entirely battery car. Electrifying cars and drives already in the mix for future cars. Supplemental battery power and energy storage is popular. However, powering entirely on battery power will still suffer slow marker penetration. The improved battery will not be a transportation disrupter. It's has high value and an option, but it has serious limitations as well. Some who can adapt to the cars limitations and desire to refuel within garage will be the primary owners.

Biofuel can be dialed up with green energy inputs to a negative carbon fuel. So, the battery car could easily lose that advantage. ICEs are becoming more efficient than grid power generation plants at least the steam turbine ones and the gas turbine ones that have to adjust to grid production of power. A steady state ICE utilized as range extender would be extremely efficient and compliment the battery car weakness. The engine may become standardized, low maintenance, cheap, and easy to recycle. This article mentioned the generator option. Hybrid technology will become incredibly cheap and easily to justify per mild hybrid. The exhaust turbo generator will improve efficiency. Not an option with battery car.

The current excitement of disruptive energy platform that appears to be very capable. Hydrogen. The technology continues to improve with lower cost and better reliability. The hydrogen economy could solve the weakness of renewable energy problem being non dispatchable. The renewables may just skip the electrical production altogether per the problems of electricity. The hydrogen industry experts/analysis are more bullish than any point within hydrogen history. It looks very good.

powering entirely on battery power will still suffer slow marker penetration. The improved battery will not be a transportation disrupter. It's has high value and an option, but it has serious limitations as well. Some who can adapt to the cars limitations and desire to refuel within garage will be the primary owners.

What matters is the reduction in fossil carbon use, not the specific means by which that happens.  Changes like the replacement of fueling at service stations by charging (at home at first, and eventually everywhere) will expand much faster than the pure BEV fleet, because PHEVs do it too.  Elon Musk wants to build multiple Gigafactories; it would only take ~3 of them to turn every new vehicle sold in the USA into a ~10 kWh PHEV.

Biofuel can be dialed up with green energy inputs to a negative carbon fuel.

If you compare the carbon emissions of the USA to the carbon content of the total biomass potential of the country (see e.g. "The Billion-Ton Vision") you realize just how inadequate biofuels are to the task.

Biofuel can only be niche players, because the NPP (net primary productivity) of the USA and the world is far too small to substitute for all FF use.  Other technologies will do the heavy lifting, not because anyone wants them to but because they have to.  Nuclear power heads this list.

These are facts.  Denying them means the job will not get done.  The global catastrophe which is already in progress is the responsibility of those people who've been denying these facts for the last 40 years and continue to do so.  They have blood on their hands.

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