Some engine types can run on an endless number of fuels (Chrysler’s gas turbine, for instance, was once demonstrated operating on a tank full of tequila), but for whatever reason, most piston engines run – at most – on one or two.; OMNIVORE, Lotus Engineering’s latest project, aims to change that.
Partnering with Jaguar and the Queen’s University of Belfast, Lotus hopes to create a two-stroke engine that is capable of running on a wide variety of naturally-sourced alcohols (i.e. ethanol or methanol).
Lotus claims the OMNIVORE engine, currently under development, will sport direct fuel injection and a variable compression ratio, potentially allowing for an infinite number of fuel types and sources to be used without any detriment to performance.
As OMNIVORE is primarily a research program, Lotus has no set timetable for placing the engine into production.; To ease development costs, initial prototypes will be single-cylinder units, although the technology, once fully developed, could be adapted for larger engines.