What is Thermal Efficiency? Well, in simple terms, it’s an engine’s ability to convert the chemical energy stored in diesel fuel into useful mechanical energy.

The higher the thermal efficiency, the more efficient the diesel engine, the less it costs to run (and the more environmentally friendly it is).

That’s why since the invention of the diesel internal combustion engine engineers have been trying to find new ways of upping the thermal efficiency.

And they have, from about 30 per cent 50 years ago, modern diesels tend to run up to a maximum of about 50 per cent thermal efficiency (as a best case scenario).

Well, it may not seem like a big jump, but the Chinese have just unveiled a diesel engine with the best thermal efficiency recorded so far – 53.09 per cent.

Weichai Power has unveiled the new engine which they have been developing for a number of years now.

They say their systems and technolgies (which are not yet public knowledge) would allow for about a 14% decrease in diesel fuel consumption over a comparible engine running at 45-46% thermal efficiency (most likely similar to what you are currently using).

And for a heavy-duty tractor (or prime-mover in our terminology) this would mean a saving of bout 45,000 litres of diesel fuel each year, based on an annual use of 250,000km.

What’s that, about $AUD90,000 annually? That’s not small change!

According to the Weichai Power team, this technical breakthrough will benefit not only transportation but also other industries, such as construction machinery, agricultural equipment, ships, and power generation equipment.