In August 2008, Lotus Engineering began work on the “Omnivore” engine, a project that is now in its final stages. By combining three systems–variable compression ratio, two-stroke cycle, and direct fuel injection–the “Omnivore” engine can be run on everything from biofuels to normal gasoline. [via Jalopnik]

The single-cylinder concept engine, on display at the 79th International Geneva Motor Show, heralds the way for greener automobile engines that are lighter, smaller, and more fuel-efficient.

Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus PLC said: “We are delighted to unveil this major milestone in the development of an engine configuration for a new breed of more efficient multi-fuel engines. The automotive sector is focusing on its environmental obligations to improve efficiency, minimise reliance on fossil fuels and reduce harmful emissions and Lotus continues to be an industry leader through our work on all aspects of future fuels. Sustainable alcohol based fuels have the potential to reduce the overall CO2 footprint of internal combustion engines towards zero and for this reason, need to be embraced as future fuels for road transport.”

FYI: Lotus manufactures lightweight, high-performance roadsters such as the Lotus Elise {pictured above} which has a 27 mpg highway rating (omg!) and a pricetag just shy of $50,000. Now, imagine if you stuck a six-cylinder Omnivore engine inside that. You’d be able to use “fuel-efficient” in the same sentence as “supercar” and life would be fantastic.