General Motors, in conjunction with the Robert Bosch Corporation and
Stanford University, is working to develop a new type of ignition that
could improve fuel mileage of gasoline engines by up to 20 percent.
Diesel engines could be made cleaner, too, using the new technology.
The name of the system is homogeneous charge compression
ignition (HCCI). It can burn fuel more thoroughly than current engines
and produces nearly zero oxides of nitrogen, which damage the ozone
layer and form smog. The HCCI compresses fuel and air in a similar way
as used in diesels, without a spark plug. With HCCI, gasoline engines
could become about 80 percent as efficient as diesels at half the cost.