The three-cylinder, six-piston engine has decent performance and unexpectedly low emissions and is designed to burn petrol, diesel, gas and hydrogen. Plus, it will soon be on the way.
While the supply of diesel engines is greatly reduced in conventional passenger cars and is being replaced by electric motors, in commercial vehicles, especially those intended for long-distance transportation, the situation is completely different.
Some manufacturers are already talking about their phasing into an electric motor, be it battery or hydrogen, but so far we’re talking more about visions and long-distance running. However, long-haul operators will need an alternative to existing propulsion units soon.
Achates Power offers an interesting solution, which Commercial Carrier Journal reported on its new engine recently. The engine technology, parameters and capabilities are a little breathtaking.
The new Achates Power two-stroke, three-cylinder six-piston counter-rotating engine, its maximum power should be in doubt around 400 hp, and the maximum torque should reach 2,373 Nm (but with increased growth potential) and at the same time, emission standards Strict state of California for 2027.
Achates Power is supported by James Lemke (an internal combustion engine innovator, holder of 114 U.S. patents) and James Walton, son of the founder of the Walmart chain. In addition, the Saudi Aramco oil company, one of the largest companies in the world, has financially contributed to the development of the engine, which has been continuing since 2018.
From the start, Achates Power has focused on developing reciprocating internal combustion engines that have seen great potential for reducing emissions – in an economical way by using only a two-stroke engine instead of a four-stroke engine. The inspiration was the engines of old aircraft.
The new engine was first tested on Aramco engine brakes in Detroit and at Achates’ private facility in San Diego. Then the engine was installed in the Peterbilt 579 tractor, where it is undergoing testing in real conditions, so it’s just not a sight without real grounding.
At the same time, the engine manufacturer is so sure of its qualities that he wants to fit one of Walmart’s tractors with it. Under the hood of the giant cruising engine in the United States will be a 10.6-liter engine, which has only three cylinders and six counter-rotating pistons.
In addition, CALSTART, which conducts emissions tests for the US state of California, confirmed that the new engine was able to achieve emissions of 0.02 grams of nitrogen oxides per horse in one hour of operation. Then Achates quotes CASTART’s executive vice president, according to which the novelty should be the cleanest combustion engine in the world with the lowest emissions.
However, Achates Power chief technical officer Fabian Redon suggested the engine could have been cleaner. Its design allows it to burn gasoline, diesel, gas and hydrogen. “You can imagine a hydrogen-burning engine with virtually no flue gas treatment and virtually no exhaust emissions.”
The advantage in combustion of hydrogen, rather than being used in fuel cells that supply batteries and electric motors, should be, according to Redon, relatively low requirements on hydrogen quality. For combustion, the lower quality and especially the cheaper hydrogen will suffice what is needed to refuel a hydrogen-powered electric vehicle.
But as Toyota recently demonstrated, which is testing a three-cylinder GR Yaris hydrogen-fired cylinder in Corolle, hydrogen-fired engines still produce small amounts of nitrogen oxides and minimal carbon dioxide. However, eliminating them may not be that difficult with current technologies.