Fuel Agnostic Engines: The Death of Diesel Fuel?

Cummins has a new engine architecture that may be designed to survive the end of diesel fuel.

Venerable diesel engine builder Cummins has introduced a fuel agnostic heavy truck engine that uses an interesting modular design to create a single internal combustion powerplant capable of operating on diesel fuel, biodiesel, and gaseous fuels such as hydrogen, biogas or natural gas. 

While hydrogen or biogas options can be either zero carbon or net zero carbon, the fuel infrastructure will be dominated by kerosene type liquid fuels for the foreseeable future. 
Very strict, ultralow emission standards such as EPA Tier 5 and EU Stage 6 require extensive and expensive aftertreatment technology involving complex catalytic reduction to reduce oxides of nitrogen, supplementary ammonia injection, as well as particulate filtration which itself requires high heat regeneration cycles. Catalysts and filters are heated, and to address this power demand, the Cummins engine uses a 48 V alternator to deliver increased current with moderately sized cabling. Test 15L-class engines are going to Walmart later this month for field testing on natural gas.

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Written by

James Anderton

Jim Anderton is the Director of Content for ENGINEERING.com. Mr. Anderton was formerly editor of Canadian Metalworking Magazine and has contributed to a wide range of print and on-line publications, including Design Engineering, Canadian Plastics, Service Station and Garage Management, Autovision, and the National Post. He also brings prior industry experience in quality and part design for a Tier One automotive supplier.