The Environmental Engine technology is a development of the internal combustion engine that provides the answer to the key challenges facing fossil fuel engines. There used to be a stark choice between large engines for high power, and small engines for low fuel consumption. But EE is an intelligent technology that automatically changes the engine capacity and compression ratio according to demand.
In a conventional engine the con-rod is attached to the crankshaft at the big-end bearing, which follows a circular orbit around the centre of the crankshaft.
In the Environmental Engine a pivoted lever arm is introduced between the crankshaft and the con-rod. This gives an elliptical orbit to the con-rod big-end which changes the piston motion.
When you need power, with EE, it is available instantly. The piston stroke lengthens so capacity increases. Then, for cruise conditions, the capacity reduces and you have all the benefits of a smaller engine. Compression ratio also adjusts according to engine speed and demand so the Environmental Engine runs with the optimal combustion pressures at all times. The variable compression ratio allows a supercharger or turbocharger to be used, without compromising low speed engine performance therefore small turbocharged engines can be used in large cars.
The EE technology can be incorporated into existing engine designs, minimising the cost of adoption. Only a change is required to a small part of the standard engine block/crankcase. The EE change in piston motion brings a number of benefits:
Dr Josef Ehrlich sadly died late last year aged 89 before seeing his final engine breakthrough commercialised. In 2001 he explained the history of the technology and his interview remains a potent outline of its conception and merit.
I have dedicated the last eleven years of my life to the design and development of a new technology that I knew would transform engine capabilities—an engine that is more versatile, more economical and more environmentally acceptable.
The EE engine technology is the invention of Dr Ehrlich who spent a lifetime successfully developing engines with improved performance.
His inventiveness stemmed from a readiness to be unconventional. In 1948, he built a three-cylinder motorcycle engine that was so powerful it was banned from racing circuits. In 1959, he built a 2-stroke engine that swept a motorcycle to victory after victory.
For many years he continued to build his own successful ‘EMC’ racing motorcycles and cars, including race-winning machines for Mike Hailwood. From 1981, his 250cc EMC motorcycles won 4 junior TT's at the Isle of Man, including being the first 250cc machine to break the 110 mph lap record.
EMC designs caught the eye of triple world champion Jack Brabham, leading to Joe supplying parts for Brabham Formula 2 and Formula 3 racing cars. He also made complete engines and Ehrlich cars for F2, F3 and later Formula Atlantic racing, scooping many victories.
Throughout his career, Joe Ehrlich focused particularly on the combustion process. “To get perfect combustion is the dream of every man that is involved with engine design,” he said, “and it is not simple.” He felt that the conventional crank and con-rod design was flawed. It wastes a considerable amount of energy in un-burnt fuel that is expelled from the exhaust.
Joe Ehrlich realised that the key to improving combustion was to control the motion of the piston at different points of the cycle. He experimented first with a cam-based system to develop his theory and then set about finding a practical way of controlling piston motion that could be exploited commercially.
His years of experience with early two-cycle designs threw up the germ of an idea. He considered inserting a pivoted lever arm between the crankshaft and con-rod. This would change the piston motion the way he wanted—but, when he plotted it out on paper, he also realised it would do much more. “Not only could I change the piston motion,” he recalled, “but by moving the bearing that held the lever arm, I could alter the compression ratio and change the capacity of the engine.”
He showed his design to Sir Jack Brabham who studied it for a moment and then exclaimed, “You've got it Joe. That's it!”
Eureka! At that moment Joe realised he had a commercially viable design for an incredibly versatile engine. “To have a variable compression and a variable capacity engine must be what the world is looking for because this automatically will give you better emission and better fuel consumption,” he explained.
With the involvement of The Mayflower Corporation from 2000-2004 he saw his dream take shape in a series of working research engines. The initial data from them confirmed his expectations. The EE variable motion engine is indeed the engine of the future.
The Environmental Engine technology addresses three fundamental needs in our world today: environmentally friendly, energy efficient and economically robust innovations.
Pollution is and will remain at the top of the world's agenda. As industry strives to increase output and as more vehicles take to the highways, governments are aware of the urgent need to act.
Improvements to the internal combustion engine have had some effect on reducing emissions but a major step forward would be everyone's ideal. Environmental Engine technology reduces emissions substantially, important in the context of legislative demands.
The demand for energy around the world continues to increase, while stocks of fossil fuels diminish. The world needs new technologies to conserve this vital resource.
With new types of power plant and fuel cells still decades away from mass implementation, the internal combustion engine will be with us for a considerable time yet. Ideally, we should make it significantly more efficient.
Environmental Engine technology significantly reduces fuel usage without loss of power.
The global economy demands low cost production. Competitive pressure forces us to provide the consumer with value for money. Efficient transportation is an essential part of controlling costs throughout the world.
There is substantial worldwide investment in existing engine production facilities. Unit production costs have been minimised with many years' experience. We need to take advantage of these assets. Environmental Engine technology can be produced in existing manufacturing facilities using current technologies and without fundamental new capital investment. Vehicles with EE technology can operate at substantially reduced cost.
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