All Aluminium Blocks for Diesel Engines from Hydro

Following the development of an all aluminium engine block, the board at Norsk Hydro have approved a major expansion project for VAW Alucast in Dillington. They have already committed 76 million Euros to the expansion which will have the capacity to churn out 350,000 blocks per year, when production commences in 2004.

The aluminium engine blocks were jointly developed over the last few years by the former VAW Casting business and a well respected European car manufacturer.

The new engine blocks are for a new high volume diesel engine for which they have already received orders for. The bold expansion project is based on the potential of these engine blocks and anticipated future work.

The significant aspect of this development is that aluminium blocks, which are widely used in petrol engines, have not been widely used for diesel engines. This is because diesel engines run hotter and at pressures up to three times those of petrol engines. The ability to produce aluminium engine blocks opens a large window of possibilities, especially bearing in mind the fact that nearly 50% of all new cars in Europe have diesel engines, as well as the recyclability issues.

The technology which has enabled Hydro to produce an aluminium diesel engine block contains a number or proprietary aspects. They are also able to integrate features not previously possible, as well as significant weight savings, sometimes of the order of 35-50kg per engine block.

For more background information on aluminium, click here.

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