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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T005327/1
Title: Centre of Excellence for Hybrid Thermal Propulsion Systems
Principal Investigator: Davy, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Copeland, Dr C Akehurst, Professor S Williams, Dr BAO
Leach, Dr FCP Stone, Professor CR Brace, Professor C
Turner, Professor JWG
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr AGJ Lewis
Project Partners:
Jaguar Land Rover Limited Siemens
Department: Engineering Science
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 May 2021 Ends: 30 April 2026 Value (£): 4,893,949
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Combustion Design Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
16 Jul 2019 Prosperity Partnerships RD3 Interview Panel 2019 Announced
04 Jun 2019 Prosperity Partnerships RD3 Prioritisation Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The scale of the investment (in power generation, transmission and charging infrastructure) that is required to support the widespread adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) is massive. This, combined with natural delays associated with fleet turnover and consumer acceptance and adoption of new technology, suggests that the transition to a predominantly grid-supplied EV fleet will be gradual and often infrastructure-limited.

This Prosperity Partnership proposes a new and faster route to full fleet electrification. We propose to develop a Thermal Propulsion System (TPS) that, combined with a matched hybrid energy recovery system, will be capable of powering an EV from an energy dense liquid fuel at the same or lower economic and environmental cost than would be incurred by importing electricity to the vehicle from the grid.

By utilising a globally established refuelling network of proven capacity, the TPS technology that will be delivered by this partnership will enable the widespread adoption of zero-emissions capable, electrically driven, vehicles ahead of the required infrastructure developments of the grid-dependent Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and the hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV). This will lighten the burden on the UK's electricity generating capacity and distribution network as BEV and FCEV usage increases, allowing valuable time for the required development of grid and charging infrastructures while simultaneously providing an option for low carbon transport at times of low renewable input to the grid.

This work is of substantial national importance to the UK's manufacturing sector. The research will protect the role of the TPS, and the UK's well-established engine manufacturing expertise, within the rapidly growing low-emission vehicle sector of the automotive market. The UK government predict that the global market for these low-emissions vehicles could be worth £1.0-2.0 trillion per year by 2030, and £3.6-7.6 trillion per year by 2050. The UK's automotive supply chain as a whole would benefit from the world leading technology that this Partnership seeks to provide.

This Partnership combines the industry knowledge, design and manufacturing resources of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), with the academic expertise of two of the UK's leading TPS research groups. The University of Oxford are world-leaders in the development of optical diagnostics and the study of in-cylinder phenomena: sprays, combustion and emissions. The University of Bath are similarly expert in the study of air handling, waste heat recovery and the systems-level analysis and modelling of vehicle powertrain.

The research is divided into interrelated "Grand Challenges". Jaguar Land Rover will lead the TPS concept design and evaluation. The University of Oxford will perform fundamental experimental studies on mixing, ignition, combustion and emissions formation under extreme lean-burn and highly dilute conditions relevant to hybrid-focused TPS operation. The data from these experiments will be used at Oxford to develop and validate new predictive models that, in turn, will feed back into concept design process at JLR and systems models at the University of Bath. Oxford will also develop new and improved measurement tools and methods for the experiments. The University of Bath will investigate low-grade and high-grade heat recovery, air-handling and boosting systems--demonstrating and evaluating concepts on a prototype multi-cylinder TPS and feeding back in to JLR's concept design process. Bath will also perform extensive systems and vehicle modelling of the TPS system (using models validated against Oxford's data) in a hybrid powertrain to optimise system-level energy balance and demonstrate the target systems-level energy recovery in a virtual environment.

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