Ford is investigating the possibility of producing efficient diesel engines with prechamber ignition technology, the same system used in Maserati’s innovative twin-turbocharged Nettuno V6 petrol engine.
Motor Trend recently received word that the car manufacturer is working with engineering consultancy FEV and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a prechamber diesel engine. The $10 million, three-year project is being partly funded by the Department of Energy and is looking to create an engine that is 23 per cent more efficient and achieves a 15 per cent reduction in engine mass compared to the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 of the 2016 Ford F-150.
In addition to the fuel injector and spark plug located in the chamber at the top of each cylinder, Ford is looking to fit a compressed-air injector that is connected to the main chamber. Motor Trend notes the prechamber will get the same compression as the main cylinder.
Ford’s project is specifically focused on engine-knock mitigation, dilute combustion, thermal management, friction reduction, and weight reduction. Research suggests that Ford will be able to increase the compression ratio of the engine from a baseline of 10:1 to between 13:1 and 15:1, which improves fuel efficiency by 6-8 per cent. Other innovative technologies include enhanced cooling of the combustion chamber through a split cooling system that prioritizes cooling of the cylinder head and pistons.
It remains to be seen when Ford’s innovative diesel engine could be ready for production and which of its models will be the first to use it.