Analytical Instrumentation

How is Mazda Making Petrol More Efficient?

Sep 24 2017 Read 946 Times

With worries about the supply of fossil fuels, as well as they’re environmental impact, a number of companies and countries are switching their attention to alternative fuels. The like of electric, LNG (liquified natural gas) and biofuel are on the up more than ever. However, Mazda’s latest development has shown there’s still life in petrol. Read on to see how they’re making petrol more efficient.

Sticking to what they know

In an industry making clear strides towards electric, Mazda have announced a new, more efficient petrol engine. Named the “Skyactiv-X”, the engine uses compression ignition to provide up to 30% more fuel efficiency than previous standard combustion engines.

It’s part of their pursuit to perfect the combustion engine. “Electrification is necessary but... the internal combustion engine should come first,” explains Kiyoshi Fujiwara, Mazda’s head of research and development.

Compression ignition

So, what is compression ignition? Put simply, it’s the process of the fuel-air mixture being compressed by the piston, resulting in spontaneous ignition. This differs from conventional spark ignition, which uses a spark from a spark plug to ignite the fuel-air mixture. It wasn’t easy to create though. Mazda highlights two key issues that had to be overcome:

  • “maximizing the zone in which compression ignition is possible”
  • “achieving a seamless transition between compression ignition and spark ignition"

Mazda’s plans for the future

More broadly, the Skyactiv-X is part of “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030”, Mazda’s long-term plans for technology development over the next 13 years. As Fujiwara touched upon, it’s not just more efficient petrol they’re developing. The Japanese car manufacturers are also planning to introduce electric vehicles from 2019 – the same year as the launch of the Skyactiv-X engine.

Their plan also includes development of safety features, such as i-ACTIVSENSE, to eliminate more traffic accidents by helping drivers assess hazards. In Japan, these technologies – like pre-crash warnings and automatic headlight switching – have become widely used, but Mazda is aiming to introduce them to other markets from next year.

A changing industry

Electric might be gaining momentum, but there is still a lot of improvement and development left in the petroleum world. Find out more about how new techniques and technologies are becoming more and more essential as the industry develops further in the article ‘Is Low Field NMR now a “Must Have” Technique for the Modern Petro Industry Laboratory?’.

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