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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S024069/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training for Sustainable Electric Propulsion (CDT SEP)
Principal Investigator: Pickert, Professor V
Other Investigators:
Zanchetta, Professor P Mecrow, Professor BC Wright, Professor NG
Eastwick, Professor CN Atkinson, Dr G O'Neill, Professor A
Clare, Professor J Wheeler, Professor P Johnson, Professor CM
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Advanced Propulsion Centre UK Ltd (APC) AVID Technology Limited AVL
Changan UK R & D Centre Limited Cummins (Group) Dynex Semiconductor (CRRC Times UK)
Dyson Technology GKN Aerospace (Melrose) Goodrich
Hoganas AB Institution of Engineering & Technology IQE PLC
IXYS UK Westcode Ltd Knowledge Transfer Network Ltd Nidec Control Techniques Ltd
PowerelectronicsUK Protean Electric Limited Ricardo Group
TT Electronics Turbo Power Systems (TPS)
Department: Sch of Engineering
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2019 Ends: 30 September 2027 Value (£): 5,591,519
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electric Motor & Drive Systems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel S – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Over the next twenty years, the automotive and aerospace sector will undergo a fundamental revolution in propulsion technology. The automotive sector will rapidly move away from petrol and diesel engine powered cars towards fully electric propelled vehicles whilst planes will move away from pure kerosene powered jet engines to hybrid-electric propulsion. The automotive and aerospace industry has worked for the last two decades on developing electric propulsion research but development investment from industry and governments was low until recently, due to lag of legislation to significantly reduce greenhouse gases. Since the ratification of the 2016 Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius, governments of industrial developed nations have now legislated to ban new combustion powered vehicles (by 2040 in the UK and France, by 2030 in Germany and similar legislation is expected soon in China). The implementation of this ban will see a sharp rise of the global electric vehicle market to 7.5 million by 2020 with exponential growth. In the aerospace sector, Airbus, Siemens and Rolls-Royce have announced a 100-seater hybrid-electric aircraft to be launched by 2030 following successful tests of 2 seater electric powered planes. Other American and European aerospace industries such as Boeing and General Electric must also prepare for this fundamental shift in propulsion technology.

Every electric car and every hybrid-electric plane needs an electric drive (propulsion) system, which typically comprises a motor and the electronics that controls the flow of energy to the motor. In order to make this a cost-effective reality, the cost of electric drives must be halved and their size and weight must be reduced by up to 500% compared to today's drive systems. These targets can only be achieved by radical integration of these two sub-systems that form an electric drive: the electric motor and the power electronics (capacitors, inductors and semiconductor switches). These are currently built as two independent systems and the fusion of both creates new interactions and physical phenomena between power electronics components and the electric motor. For example, all power electronics components would experience lots of mechanical vibrations and heat from the electric motor. Other challenges are in the assembly of connecting millimetre thin power electronics semiconductors onto a large hundred times bigger aluminium block that houses the electric motor for mechanical strength.

To achieve this type of integration, industry recognises that future professional engineers need skills beyond the classical multi-disciplinary approach where individual experts work together in a team. Future propulsion engineers must adopt cross-disciplinary and creative thinking in order to understand the requirements of other disciplines. In addition, they will need an understanding of non-traditional engineering subjects such as business thinking, use of big data, environmental issues and ethical impact. Future propulsion engineers will need to experience a training environment that emphasises both deep subject knowledge and cross-disciplinary thinking.

This EPSRC CDT in Power Electronics for Sustainable Electric Propulsion is formed by two of UK's largest and most forward thinking research groups in this field (at Newcastle and Nottingham Universities) and includes 16 leading industrial partners (Cummins, Dyson, CRRC, Protean, to name a few). All of them sharing one vision: To create a new generation of UK power electronics specialists, needed to meet the societal and industrial demand for clean, electric propulsion systems in future automotive and aerospace transport infrastructures.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk