Automotive Power Systems
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  ENVERA receives US Department of Energy Award to Develop a High Efficiency VCR Engine    

The National Energy Technology Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Envera LLC a $2.8M contract to develop and test a variable compression ratio (VCR) engine that could improve automotive fuel economy by 40 percent. The estimated fuel economy gains could be achieved at a relatively low cost while also delivering exceptional performance, torque and flex-fuel capability.

The engine will include new technologies developed by Envera and Eaton. Envera is responsible for development of the engine and providing the VCR system. Eaton is providing a new advanced Supercharger and Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) technology. Current plans call for testing the engine in a full-size pickup truck or utility van.

Envera specializes in the development of advanced technologies for improving automotive fuel economy. Prior advanced technology engine development and prototype build projects for DOE include a port fuel-injected VCR engine for the Argonne National Laboratory, a common-ratio turbo-diesel VCR engine for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and a gasoline direct-injection / port fuel-injection VCR engine for the Oakridge National Laboratory.

"We are committed to developing affordable engine systems for improving automotive fuel economy that can be embedded in high-volume mass production engines by the major automobile manufacturers" said Charles Mendler, President of Envera.

Eaton is a major Tier-1 supplier to the automotive industry and is the world's leading producer of engine valves, supplying nearly every automobile manufacturer in the world. Eaton has been pioneering innovations in VVA technology for more than a quarter century, and is also the industry leader in Supercharger technology. The company continues to develop new Supercharger technology to improve fuel efficiency of engines without compromising performance. In the area of variable valve control, Eaton is now pursuing variable valve actuation for overhead cam multi-valve engines with commercial launch of the technology in 2013.

"We are pleased to be involved and contributing to this project and believe the learning from it could contribute to future commercial technologies that will benefit engine and vehicle manufacturers worldwide," said Tom Stover, chief technology officer - Eaton Vehicle Group. "The Department of Energy is to be commended for its continued funding of projects like this one."

The new engine will achieve high efficiency using the Atkinson Cycle with an 18:1 compression ratio, combined with aggressive engine downsizing. To attain high power levels, new high-efficiency supercharging technology will be used to boost the engine and provide V8-like performance from only four cylinders. Valve events will also be adjusted with the VVA to trap more air in the cylinders when power is needed. Engine displacement is 2.4L. A low 8.5:1 compression ratio will be used during supercharged conditions to accommodate the higher power levels. The engine can also be combined with a hybrid drivetrain to attain even greater mileage improvements.


ENVERA delivers Gasoline Direct Injection VCR engine to Oak Ridge National Laboratory - February 2013


    Envera delivered to Oak Ridge National Laboratory an in-line 4-cylinder VCR engine. Both a port fuel injection cylinder head and a gasoline direct fuel injection cylinder head were delivered with the engine. The engine features a highly optimized VCR mechanism that does not increase engine width or height. The engine will be used by ORNL for combustion research and development.