China's Weichai Group launches first over 50% thermal efficiency commercial diesel engine

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On Sept. 16, 2020, Weichai Group announced a significant breakthrough in the internal combustion engine. As a leading equipment manufacturer in China, the company officially launched the world's first commercial diesel engine with thermal efficiency over 50%. 

The national internal combustion engine testing organization China Automotive Technology and Research Center, and authoritative global testing agency TÜV SÜD, awarded certification to Weichai Group at the launch ceremony for achieving thermal efficiency of 50.26%.

Weichai credits the breakthrough to five proprietary technologies: advanced fields synergy combustion technology, harmonious design technology, exhaust energy distribution technology, subzone lubrication technology, and WISE control technology. Together, these technologies help achieve high-efficiency and smart control with low heat transfer, low friction loss, and low emissions.

Volkmar Dunner, chairman and CEO of Bosch Group, the world's largest auto parts supplier, said that the newly announced engine marks an important achievement. “This is a historic breakthrough in the history of diesel engine development, setting a new benchmark for the thermal efficiency of global diesel engines.”

Walter Downing, chief operating officer of Southwest Research Institute in the United States, said that achieving thermal efficiency of 50% requires extremely large investment in research and development, and planning for commercial production several years in advance.

Diesel engines consist of thousands of parts which makes improving thermal efficiency a huge undertaking. Since the first ever diesel engine was developed in 1897, thermal efficiency has steadily increased from 26% to 46% over 100-plus years of gradual improvements. However, increasingly stringent emission regulations have made progress more difficult in recent years.

Su Wanhua, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, explained that improving thermal efficiency and reducing emissions often run counter to one another. He noted that enhancing thermal efficiency under the premise of meeting China's national VI emission standards required a total overhaul of internal combustion engine technology.

The launch of the world's first commercial diesel engine with thermal efficiency of over 50% marks another step in enabling China to become a global leader in the equipment manufacturing industry.

Content created in partnership with Science and Technology Daily.

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