A unique 2-stroke diesel engine with two pistons in each pair of opposed cylinders
that promises reduced friction and half the size and weight with greater efficiency will
be produced by Zhongding Power in a $200 million plant in China with capacity of
150,000 units per year. The venture is financed by Zhongding. Volume production is expected to begin in 2014.
A video illustrating how the engine works can be viewed at…www.ecomotors.com.
The engine system, termed “opoc” (opposed piston opposed cylinder) has been developed by Eco Motors, Allen Park, Michigan. The firm’s CEO is Don Runkle with 30 Years experience in General Motors engineering. The engine design was created by Prof. Peter Hofbauer, who led VW/Audi powertrain for over 20 years. There have been
many approaches to opposed piston engines over the last decades due to their inherent efficiency. However, the “opoc” has a unique single crankshaft and ability to stack power modules to take advantage of modular displacement efficiency.
At stake is the remarkable potential for half size and weight vs. conventional diesels. EcoMotors claims 20-50% fuel economy gain; the largest percent gain where multiple cylinder pairs are individually shut down at light loads without upsetting the inherent smoothness of the other individual cylinder pairs. Piston travel and related friction are cut in half.
The initial production engine with 2.5L, 240 hp, 630 Nm torque version for
commercial vehicles precedes use for GenSets, off-road and other applications. A key provision of the agreement allocates a portion of the China plant’s output to EcoMotors for sale and distribution to its own customers. EcoMotors affiliation with International
Truck & Engine suggests one possibility. The Zhongding Group comprises 20 modern
automotive component entities including Zhongding Power.
Coincidental with planned production of the “opoc” diesel engine will be production of renewable diesel fuel via thermal and microbial methods which themselves usher in a new era of inherently lower GHG emissions and overall reduction in the difficulties of petroleum based fuel including fracking. The collective gains by both new fuel and new engines such as “opec” will surely add much to debate about environmental, geopolitical and economic issues.
As for the future of “opoc” diesel engine technology, there appear to be few limitations on future potential applications reaching in many directions from the 2.5L, 240 hp kick-off point for commercial vehicles.