Of course, you already know a mixture of water and coolant in the radiator keeps your car from overheating. Water (or rather the electrolytes in water) is also needed to keep your car’s battery charged. Water in the gas tank – is not good! Your car will hesitate and sputter and if the water stays in the fuel line for too long, it can start the process of rust that can clog your fuel system.
But did you know that water in an engine can make your car’s engine perform better, save fuel, and give it a powerful boost? Well, a German engineering firm, Bosch, seems to have come up with a new engine design that uses a mist of water to keep the engine cooler. You may have heard of Bosch. They have been the premier manufacturer of spark plugs for over a hundred years.
Heat is a Car’s Worse Enemy
Automotive designers have always worked to add features that cool the car’s powertrain. Some auto designs use the circulation of fluid through pipes. Other parts of the car rely on built-in air circulation patterns. And still further, there are metal components, usually aluminum fins, to direct heat away from components.
The idea behind using water to make a car’s engine more efficient has more to do with the problems that excessive heat can add to an internal combustion engine. Here are a few damaging effects of heat within your car’s engine:
- Heat reduces a car’s horsepower
- Heat breaks down the fluids in your car
- Heat will increase the wear and tear of the engine
- Heat can cause pre-ignition which can destroy a piston
This is what the Bosch engine design will attempt to correct. To effectively reduce the amount of heat generated when the spark plug ignites and to generate an explosive force that will mechanically drive a piston. According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers:
“Currently, up to 65% of the heat energy produced in internal combustion engines, whether gasoline or diesel, is wasted. Typically, the powertrain or engine dissipates the heat by convection, where it is carried to the cooling circuit or lost out of the tailpipe in exhaust gases.”
Bosch’s Design to Reduce Car Engine Heat
Bosch’s “just add water” design is based on the principle that a cooler engine will run more efficiently. The concept replaces the portion of gasoline that is typically injected into a car’s engine to prevent it from overheating – and uses a fine mist of water instead. The water is supplied through an intake port with the inclusion of a separate injector. With all the heat that is being generated during combustion, the addition of water in the cylinder is designed to not only cool down the engine but to also improve engine performance.
Between each cycle of fuel exploding to produce power, a spray of water mist is sent into the cylinder. The water evaporates quickly enough that it doesn’t mix during the fuel reactions. But it does provide a significant amount of engine cooling and can reduce the amount of fuel that the engine needs to consume. And the water adds to a more oxygen-rich environment which contributes to faster cycling of the engine’s ignition.h
How Water is Enough for Cooling
Bosch’s engineers have done the math. They calculate a 5 percent boost in engine power or a 13 percent increase in fuel efficiency – theoretically. But this is quite impressive when you consider that only a few milliliters of water are used for every kilometer (or 0.62 miles) driven. So, consider for every 1,800 miles (approximately), you would have to add a little over a gallon of water. And if you don’t add the water, you won’t get the catastrophic results you would with a dry radiator. The car would still drive fine, but just a little less efficient.
Bosch’s water-cooled engine technology is meant to help with the mid-sized cars that feature a turbocharged engine. Right now, it is used in the BMW M4 GTS. Imagine the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions when all cars run more efficiently with more combustion of fuel—instead of it being emitted into the environment by way of the tailpipe.