Picture this: we're no longer beholden to energy resources from unstable regions and we're no longer burning petroleum-based fuels in our cars. Despite the radical change in fuels, engines are largely the same, as is the fuelling infrastructure. While it sounds like a nice dream, Volkswagen has been hard at work making it reality. They've combined aspects of diesel and gasoline engines into their Combined Combustion System, realizing efficiency gains and emissions reductions.
Using Bosch piezo injectors that operate like those in diesel engines, providing multiple squirts of fuel directly into the cylinder prior to top dead center and after ignition, the CCS engine can achieve a long burn while keeping cylinder temperatures and pressure at bay. Holding the cylinder temps down also reduces oxides of nitrogen in the exhaust, the main problem with lean-burning engines' emissions. VW also has plans to use this engine technology as part of a hybrid drivetrain.
The most exciting part of the whole project is the new fuel that Volkswagen co-developed with German firm Choren Industries. The new fuel is synthetic and based on a combination of planted crops, bio-degradeable trash and waste from forest industries. That's right, it runs on trash, gets better mileage, doesn't pay a power penalty, can be filled up from conventional-style pumps and doesn't help fund unstable tinhorns. Put that in your tank and burn it!
More pictures after the jump