Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition
Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species. The release of heat can result in the production of light in the form of either glowing or a flame...

 to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber
Combustion chamber
A combustion chamber is the part of an engine in which fuel is burned.-Internal combustion engine:The hot gases produced by the combustion occupy a far greater volume than the original fuel, thus creating an increase in pressure within the limited volume of the chamber...

. This is in contrast to spark-ignition engines such as a petrol engine
Petrol engine
A petrol engine is an internal combustion engine with spark-ignition, designed to run on petrol and similar volatile fuels....

 (gasoline engine) or gas engine
Gas engine
A gas engine means an engine running on a gas, such as coal gas, producer gas biogas, landfill gas, or natural gas. In the UK, the term is unambiguous...

 (using a gaseous fuel as opposed to gasoline), which uses a spark plug
Spark plug
A spark plug is an electrical device that fits into the cylinder head of some internal combustion engines and ignites compressed fuels such as aerosol, gasoline, ethanol, and liquefied petroleum gas by means of an electric spark.Spark plugs have an insulated central electrode which is connected by...

 to ignite an air-fuel mixture. The engine was developed by Rudolf Diesel
Rudolf Diesel
Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel was a German inventor and mechanical engineer, famous for the invention of the diesel engine.-Early life:Diesel was born in Paris, France in 1858 the second of three children of Theodor and Elise Diesel. His parents were Bavarian immigrants living in Paris. Theodor...

 in 1893.

The diesel engine has the highest thermal efficiency
Thermal efficiency
In thermodynamics, the thermal efficiency is a dimensionless performance measure of a device that uses thermal energy, such as an internal combustion engine, a boiler, a furnace, or a refrigerator for example.-Overview:...

 of any regular internal or external combustion engine due to its very high compression ratio
Compression ratio
The 'compression ratio' of an internal-combustion engine or external combustion engine is a value that represents the ratio of the volume of its combustion chamber from its largest capacity to its smallest capacity...