By on June 28, 2010

Remember the miracle carburetor that would have halved the gasoline consumption, if the wicked oil companies would not have bought the patent and locked it away? As a matter of fact, the lowly ICE has made great strides when it comes to reducing consumption, a drive that has traditionally been championed in Europe and to some degree Japan.

More savings are lurking in the ICE. A German engineer says he can lower consumption of a three liter engine by 30 percent and lower CO2 output by 40 percent. And the power? That would go up by 20 percent.

It’s done with a special sequential injection system, originally developed for aircraft engines. It already has been used in Formula 3 racing engines of Mercedes, BMW and Toyota. Now, inventor Jürgen Himbert wants to adapt it for everyday use, says Automobilwoche [sub].

Different than the mythical miracle carburetor, the system has been proven and officially verified. A test with a 3 liter Mercedes, observed by the independent German testing lab GTÜ, replicated the numbers given above. The engine produced considerably more torque at lower revs which promises even more savings with an appropriately adapted gearbox. With gasoline engine, the system can even be refitted.

Diesel engines can profit even more from the system, says Automobilwoche. To receive maximum savings, the diesel engine needs a new block. For the oilburner, Himbert promises 2.5 liter per 100km (94 mpg US) and only 40-50g CO2 per 100km.

Himbert is talking to “a large international supplier” who wants to build the system in series “if carmakers want it.”

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19 Comments on “German Ingenuity Lowers Consumption By A Third...”

  • avatar

    So what’s the catch? There’s got to be a catch.

  • avatar

    Three or four valves per cylinder?

    Double overhead cams with the capability of varying the intake and exhaust cams independently?

    Turbocharged or supercharged?

    Best performance, emissions, cost, and reliability with gas NOT watered down with bio-alcohol?

  • avatar

    NOX emissions?

    • 0 avatar

      The original article is not stating NOX values.Only the fact that the Himbert engine that was setup for comparison was operating without a catalytic converter!The 6 cyl 3.0 Liter Benz engine with sequential fuel injection delivered 0.172 %CO and 8% CO2, whereas the original OEM setup supplied 0.3 %CO and 15 %CO2.Quite interresting.

  • avatar

    I’m interested in this kind of thing, professional curiosity if nothing else. I found the following patent with this gentleman’s name:

    Maybe one of the German-fluent commentariat could take a look and see if this has any impact on the article? From what I could determine it doesn’t look like a refittable mechanism but it may be related in concept.

    • 0 avatar

      Seeing as how I learned most of my German from drunk friends in bars, my technical German is crap, but if I had time I could make it through the patent. However, I’ll leave it to Bertel or Martin Schwoerer (is he still around? He’s German right? He has a German name, at least.) to give a real summary. Either way, the abstract of the paper is in English…

    • 0 avatar

      No. I refuse to translate some 28 pages of German engineer-speak, written in legalese. In any case, the patent is 20 years old, however, a new patent will be filed, says Auttomobilwoche, and if I would translate this one (which I can’t and won’t) then I would have to translate the new one also. Nein.

      Quite possible, it’s the wrong patent, as the article talks about a computer driven injection/ignition system called CIZ (Computer Injection Zündung) and there is nothing about a Zündung or Ignition in the cited patent, but a lot about a Wankel-type axial piston, and how to overcome its shortcomings.

  • avatar

    I really hope this is legit…if it’s durable enough/robust enough for auto applications (as lots of car owners are horrible about maintenance, unlike most airlines) it sounds like a modern day miracle…more power combined with better fuel efficiency, that’s the holy grail…

    And even if the cost for this advanced fuel injection system is higher, so is the cost for hybridization and/or diesel…and saving thousands of gallons of gas over the life of a car makes it an easy sell.

    I’m a friggin’ broken record here, but we have to find creative, workable solutions to lessen our oil addiction…it’s bad, bad stuff…pollutes the planet, destroying the Gulf, funds terrorism (and evil corporate henchman/as*holes), etc etc etc

    Sorry for us car enthusiasts, but we have to evolve and come up with some better solutions, and fast, or else the choices will be made FOR US, by non-enthusiats, and beep beep Nissan Leafs and Toyota Prius’s will be all that’s allowed.

    Even me, a Miata driver, would find that a sad day.

  • avatar

    I’m always heartened when I hear about such engineering marvels that will do the things this engine does, but soon after, revert to my normally cynical self when I realize that the car companies won’t want what Himbert’s got.

    1) Because the auto industry wants to tout their own home-grown solutions, and don’t want to license other technology, at least for something this big, in terms of PR, and a reason to buy their products. Who can claim the superiority of higher power AND fuel savings if everyone will be licensing the same tech?
    2) As well, there will probably be a disconnect between what Himbert wants for the license and what the auto companies are willing to pay.

    3) Not to mention the vast investment in time and money already made in diesels and hybrids by VW and Toyota, respectively (among others), They’re sticking with who brung ’em.

    GM could benefit from such tech in the Volt, as the engine specs are secondary to the fact that it’s an EV and this could contribute to even higher mpg calculations when on the engine-supplement cycle, but that brings us back to the first point about home-grown tech. I suppose a company could buy the technology, but that brings us back to point 2 (costs, and worth more than anyone is willing to pay, I’m sure).

    As much as I’d love to see this technology implemented, I’m afraid it’s going to fall back into oblivion, as the industry is obsessed with introducing more complexity and “not-an-engine” tech into something that could be dealt with so elegantly as we see here.


  • avatar
    Dave Skinner

    While it’s easy to condemn automakers, or say they take a “NIH” approach to engineering, our German engineering friend built an off-road system designed to maximize power and mileage. On-road vehicles add a third leg to this equation- emissions. In the sevenites, these systems had a HUGE negative impact on both power and fuel economy.

    Things are better today, but engineers cannot simply hang high efficency catalytic conveters on modern engines and call it good. They also have to engineer the fuel delivery system so that it “feeds” the catalyst certain gases. Frequently, fuel economy and power are sacrificed to these needs.

    We’ll see if Herr Himbert can balance this piece of the equation any better than those who have gone before him…

  • avatar

    I call BS on this one. If a genuinely more efficient engine were developed it would be reflected in the brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC) figures. Pounds per horsepower-hour, or grams per kilowatt-hour, whatever floats your boat. Using whole-vehicle units like liters per 100 km or grams per kilometer introduces a bunch more variables. The fact is that engines in the 1950s achieved bsfc as low as 0.38 lbs/hp-hr and this figure has not been significantly improved upon.

    • 0 avatar

      I have to believe there have been significant improvements in the BSFC figures over the past 60 years.

      1. Fuel injection systems are vastly superior to carburetion.
      2. Spark timing, responsive to speed and load, is much improved.
      3. Piston top and combustion chamber design vastly improved.
      4. Three and 4 valves per cylinder is an advancement.
      5. Variable cams and splitting intake and exhaust cams help.
      6. Exhaust and intake manifolding is far superior
      7. Airflow in the head is improved.
      8. More attention to pumping and friction losses helped.
      9. Much improved air intake and engine temperature control.
      10. Today’s better motor oils have also helped.

      Totaled up, the engines of the 1950s are boat anchors compared to what is under the hood today.

      For a peek at what may be in store for tomorrow, look at some of the technology that has been incorporated into the newest Chevy, Ford, Dodge, and Toyota NASCAR engines. SAE’s Automotive Engineering magazine is also a great place to keep up on the big boy’s toys.

  • avatar

    There is also the difference between 30% fuel savings and 40% CO2. Shouldn’t that be 1 to 1

  • avatar

    This is very exciting if true. Both because I like my internal combustion straight, like my bourbon, and for the reasons sfdennis outlined.

    I don’t believe what TR4 said, basically for the reasons outlined by CarPerson. The notion that engines are not genuinely way more efficient than they were 50-60 years ago has to be nonsense.

    Furthermore, Csaba Csere wrote a good column in the early-mid ’00s on how much engines had improved in power since maybe the late 70s–an improvement which he admitted could have been manifested in better gas mileage, but don’t tell Kerry or McCain he says as they were trying to pass new CAFE legislation at the time.

  • avatar


    The question is whether this requires more cylinder head real-estate, or if the engine remains port-injection. If that’s an old Merc engine with a two-valve or a three-valve combustion chamber, then adding an extra injector to the head itself won’t be as difficult as with today’s 4-valve jobs.

    Nissan was actually working on a dual-injector system in a similar vein. The idea is to give the same benefits as direct injection, without being tied to extremely expensive and sensitive (read: prone to clogging) piezo-injectors. Thus, this one really isn’t news to me.

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