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GM : a new combustion technology to reduce GHG emissions

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Khatir Soltani
General Motors is currently working on the development of a combustion engine that burns fuel without using spark plugs and that can drive a vehicle up to 55 mph (about 90 kph). This powerplant's combustion process is similar to that of a diesel engine, but its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are on the same levels as traditional gasoline engines.

The new combustion technology, called Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition, or HCCI, allows a reduction in CO2 emissions without the need to install particle filters, as is the case with diesel engines. It offers up to 15 percent improved fuel efficiency compared to a regular port fuel-injected engine.

GM demonstrated the HCCI combustion process for the first time in two driveable concept vehicles, a 2007 Saturn Aura and Opel Vectra.

The benefit of this technology lies in the fact that the air-fuel mixture ignition is produced by the heat generated by compression. Consequently, the HCCI engine will burn 25 percent less fuel than a regular mill while producing less emissions due to its high compression ratio.

HCCI uses a computer and a pressure sensor. Fuel is directly injected into the cylinder where it mixes with air. The resulting air-fuel combination burns at a lower temperature than in a diesel engine, which helps prevent nitrous oxides forming.

Volkswagen AG and Daimler also work on introducing a similar type of technology.
Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada