Luxury auto powerhouse Lotus recently announced plans to develop a new kind of engine that will be able to run on virtually any type of fuel. Aptly named the OMNIVORE, the innovative engine will utilize a variable compression ratio system to “significantly increase fuel efficiency for sustainable bio-alcohol fuels”. The omnivore engine will complement the Exige 270E Tri-Fuel (pictured above) as the latest entry in Lotus’ plan to weather an unstable energy market by maximizing the versatility of their vehicles.

Sponsored by the Department for the Environment in the UK and Northern Ireland, Lotus‘ versatile new engine aims to reduce emissions while increasing efficiency and becoming one of the most flexible engine architectures around.

The technology utilizes an adaptive compression system combined with direct fuel injection, allowing the engine to take advantage of the increased combustion rate of alcohol in addition to a wide variety of biofuels. As a result, the OMNIVORE engine will be “ideally suited to flex-fuel operation with a higher degree of optimization than is possible with existing architectures.”

Although the efficient engine may be a far-cry from an eco-topian zero-emissions technology, it does take an innovative approach to weathering our shifting fuel infrastructure by focusing upon flexibility. Lotus plans to complete a single-cylinder prototype of the OMNIVORE engine by January 2009

+ Lotus

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