Gasoline, ethanol, methanol, butanol, natural gas... there are a ton of choices when deciding on what fuel is best suited for automotive use, and each of them offer at least some reason to recommend them over another. Which to choose? Here's a better question: What if you didn't have to choose just one fuel?
That's the goal of the so-called omnivorous engine. Not long ago, Lotus Engineering made headlines at the Geneva Motor Show when it showed off its flex-fuel Omnivore engine concept, and now word comes from the Argonne National Lab that it, too, is working on such a powerplant.
While there are already some engines capable of running on multiple spark ignited fuels, it's not an easy task to get one single powerplant to run with optimal efficiently on such a diverse range of products. In the case of Argonne's Omnivorous Engine, a sophisticated computer keeps track of what's being fed into the engine, and things like valve timing, fuel injection metering and compression ratio can be adjusted on the fly. Click past the break to watch a video introducing the project.
[Source: Green Car Advisor]