Waste heat slashes fuel consumption

Jun 07, 2011
The Formula SAE racing car developed and built by a team at Deakin University. Credit: Donna Edwards

A minor modification to your car could reduce fuel consumption by over seven per cent.

The Deakin University invention uses waste heat to reduce by warming the . A prototype has been built and tested and the inventors are now talking to the car manufacturers and developing an aftermarket conversion kit.

The system, which can be retrofitted, works by diverting to bring engine oil up to its optimal operating temperature. It was developed by researchers at Deakin University led by Mr Frank Will of the School of Engineering during his PhD project.

“Preliminary testing of our system has demonstrated fuel savings of over seven per cent as well as significant reductions in exhaust emissions,” Frank says.

The work is being presented through Fresh Science, a communication boot camp for early career scientists held at the Melbourne Museum. Frank was one of 16 winners from across Australia.

A typical car engine wastes about 80 per cent of the fuel consumed. Only 20 per cent of the fuel’s energy is used to drive the car forward. The rest is lost as heat. He believes his – which he has named OVER7™ – represents a smarter approach to vehicle engine design.

“One of its most important features is that it doesn’t have to heat all the oil in the sump. Instead, it heats only the active oil in the engine lubrication system. This makes the overall heat transfer process much more efficient.

“The system has the potential to be retrofitted to existing engines and we don’t think it will require big changes. It should be much cheaper to fit than an LPG conversion for example. Built into a new car it should pay for itself within a month or two,” he says.

“We also think the system will be suitable for a range of vehicles, including diesels, hybrids and those using alternative fuels.” Other benefits include the potential to reduce engine wear and improve performance.

“We were very pleased with the results of tests on our prototype system. Now we are working on further testing with and their suppliers, in order to optimise the technology to best suit their needs.”

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User comments : 10

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Hukkinen
not rated yet Jun 07, 2011
There's no enough info to understand the principle. How can you keep the sump-oil from being warmed up if you, at the same time, would be using it? Or are you just effectively just using less oil? How is that going to reduce the friction? I'm puzzled.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 07, 2011
Yes,I am confused too.Doesn't engine oil get to it's optimum temperature fairly quickly anyway? I use synthetic oil in my car to reduce friction,especially when you first start the engine.
Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (1) Jun 07, 2011
A solution in search of a problem. I use synthetic multi-weight 5-40 oil in an engine with normal operating temperature of 190F. A seven percent increase in its mileage is about 3.5 mpg.
b00ch
not rated yet Jun 07, 2011
yeah no info.
Is it just at start up till the engine warms? part of the oil system is that it cools the engine. not as significantly as the coolant system i imagine.
what about heating up the coolant?

doesn't the cooling system keep the engine at a temperature that the manufactures designate. this temp optimized for longevity and fuel conservation. the cooling system regulates the temp once the car reaches operating temp. obd2 reads sensors when the car is warm, unlike when the car is cold. Is that part of it maybe?

more info please!
PPihkala
1 / 5 (1) Jun 07, 2011
I think they heat the oil when it leaves the oil filter. And of course only when it's too cold. So engine will get right temp oil faster after start, which reduces the friction, which improves efficiency. I must have seen something like this previously.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Jun 08, 2011
The apes are still using fire and expanding gasses to move their vehicles.

When will the fools ever learn?
gwrede
1 / 5 (1) Jun 08, 2011
This may be especially good in the Nordic countries and Canada, where winter temperatures can keep the engine from ever reaching the proper temperature. The difference would be much more than the seven percent promised.

However, expect blown head gaskets, reduced life, and other problems from steep temperature gradients in the engine.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 08, 2011
This may be especially good in the Nordic countries and Canada, where winter temperatures can keep the engine from ever reaching the proper temperature. The difference would be much more than the seven percent promised.

However, expect blown head gaskets, reduced life, and other problems from steep temperature gradients in the engine.

I live in Canada,and although it does get very cold,my engine is up to normal operating temps before I get to work,a 20 minute drive at city speeds.Of course,we also use block heaters to keep the oil thin and save wear and tear on the battery and starter motor.
unknownorgin
1 / 5 (1) Jun 12, 2011
You dont need a device to heat the engine oil ,just make it a habit to get in the vehicle 10 minutes early and let it idle so the oil will warm up. warm up is important in engines of 700 cubic inch displacement and bigger because the pistons and other parts expand with heat to work correctly. Feul economy is higher in a warm engine because liquid feul is vaporized by contact with hot engine surfaces so it mixes better with air and this is also why a warm engine runs better than a cold engine. Some engines have a "windage tray" in the oil pan to prevent oil from coliding with the crankshaft and wasting kinetic energy.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 12, 2011
Where I live,-40 is quite common in the morning,and unless your battery is in perfect condition,you can't even turn the engine over.That's why a common device used here is a block heater which is on a timer and heats the engine block for a couple of hours in the morning.After starting,the best way to heat the engine up is to drive slowly for the first mile or two.Idling for 10 minutes delays the warm up of the engine,and wastes fuel and pollutes the environment.I have a 2010 Civic which helps,as the small block turns over easier that a big eight,even if I forget to plug in the block heater.

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