New air hybrid engine

* Using engine braking to generate power * Could be adapted from standard engine * Scientists say simulations work...

New air hybrid engine

Normal petrol engines could be turned into ecologically friendly and cost-effective hybrids without the need for radical redesigns, a university team has found.

Simulations by the Institute of Engineering and Design at Brunel University, in west London, show standard combustion engines might be able to be adapted into a new air hybrid engine at very low costs, and would be considerably cheaper to run while producing far less carbon emissions.

The institute's engineers believe that when the car uses its natural engine compression to brake, the pistons could also be employed to compress air and save it to a tank.

The compressed air could later be used to power the pistons and provide compressed air for turbocharging during a period of turbo lag.

Professor Hua Zhao, director for advanced powertrain and fuels research, said: 'Significantly reducing the cost of driving through reducing fuel consumption and lowering carbon emissions for commercial vehicles is an ongoing battle.

'Our simulations prove that we have achieved a major breakthrough. Now we need to test it with vehicle manufacturers.'

According to the team behind the design, it would require only small alterations to adapt a standard combustion engine into an air hybrid.