Ethanol engine controller unit

“Optimising the fuel efficiency of petrol engine cars for use with any mix of petrol and alcohol using an electronic control system”

Our goal: is to develop a Hungarian-manufactured adapter that allows petrol engine cars to operate with E85 fuel and any mix of petrol and alcohol.

33The reason behind the project is that Otto engines can run on petrol and, after some modification, on alcohol. Traditional fuel is going to have increasing renewable, alcohol fuel content. Hungary has also signed the international agreement ensuring that by 2010 the energy based ratio of biofuels would reach 5.75% of the total fuel quantity sold. In addition, the fuel type E85 consisting 85% waterless alcohol is already available at fuel stations. Thus, petrol-driven cars can run on a number of different fuels that can be mixed with each other. When fuelling the two types alternatively, the car engine actually receives a fuel mix of petrol and alcohol with components of unknown proportions.

The electronic control system originally optimised for petrol alone cannot control the burning of this unknown mix of alcohol and petrol because alcohol needs almost half the amount of air than petrol. If working with the wrong mix of air and fuel, the engine may skip, stall or work at low efficiency.

When defining the basic task, we decided to modify only the engine control without changing anything on the engine to enable it to run on E85 fuel. For engines with electronic fuel injection control, flexible adaptation to the different mixes of E85 and petrol requires only software modification by way of an easy-to-connect adapter. We believe that with the “flex-fuel” adapter to be developed, the amount of the fuel to be injected (injection period) and the pre-ignition angle (and other modifiable combustion characteristics) need to be adjusted so that the engine can run on any mix of E85 fuel and petrol.

We use the sensors of the car and sometimes some new sensors to see how their parameters change as conditions influencing optimum engine operation change (winter and summer seasons, different alcohol and petrol ratio). Based on these data we determine how optimum control can be established. Engine operation may be optimised based on recorded diagrams to build a prototype of an automatic control system that, after the closing of the project, may be used to develop a product for commercial use.


  • modelling
  • development of complex control, measurement
  • long-term test
  • prototype development
  • model tests
  • finalisation of the prototype

Considering that we currently know about no such competition product that is constructed with the same scientific approach as the one in our project, our objective is to create a new market segment.

Steadily rising prices of fossil fuels makes cheaper biofuels more appealing to motorists. The target group of the prototype are primarily those car owners who are planning to convert their existing cars and use the alcohol-fuel mix due to increasing fuel prices or to environmental considerations. The current trends suggest that the price gap between traditional fuel and biofuels will increase and thus create a high demand for cheaper replacement products. By establishing the technological conditions to the transition to biofuels, the end-product of the project is highly anticipated not only at home but also abroad.


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