The Diesel Mystery provides an insight into the invention of the diesel engine at the end of the 19th century, also depicting the moving fate of Rudolf Diesel himself. He rose from the lowest levels of society, but after his initial successes various rivals and other scientists did all they could to discredit Diesel and his invention.
Finally, under extremely mysterious circumstances, his life came to an end during a sea voyage. To this very day there are serious doubts about the official verdict of suicide. After all, Diesel had powerful enemies back in Germany, especially since he allowed his patents to be licensed in France and England as well… on the eve of the First World War.
The Program sets out on a thrilling quest, applying detective methods in an attempt to clear up the mysterious disappearance of Diesel and tracing the curious path taken by the inventor and his ground-breaking invention. The documentary also shows how the engine developed by Rudolf Diesel has become the backbone of international commerce: 85% of world trade is transported by sea, driven by diesel engines –some of which are as big as an apartment block, with the incredible power of almost 100,000 hp.