Research

New ‘Centre for Low Emission Vehicle Research’ announced

New centre will precisely test a vehicle’s emissions across a range of environmental conditions

The University has been awarded £2m of equipment funding from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to establish a UK centre of excellence in low carbon vehicle research.

The Centre for Low Emission Vehicle Research (CLEVeR) will establish a platform where fundamental academic research can be undertaken alongside applied industry investigations in a world-class vehicle research facility. It will address many of the future research challenges associated with current and future low and ultra-low carbon vehicles under real world driving conditions. The facility will open in April 2015.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction is the single most pressing technical challenge facing the automotive industry. Alongside CO2 emissions, greater scrutiny will also be focused on Nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel vehicles. Future legislation is expected to require new car emissions and fuel efficiency to be tested under more representative ‘real world’ conditions.

The facility will feature a 4-wheel drive rolling road with state-of-the-art emissions measuring equipment and robot drivers that can replicate a variety of driving styles. The work to be undertaken is aimed at bridging the wide research gap between the laboratory and the real world.

The Centre will facilitate the precision measurement of a vehicle’s emissions profile over a range of environmental conditions, such as variations in gradient, ambient humidity and extremes of temperature ranging from -10o to +50o to evaluate how engines perform in harsh environments. In electric and hybrid vehicles, battery models will be implemented to assess performance of novel battery technologies.

Fundamental detailed academic research will be carried out alongside applied investigations, examining both the whole vehicle and sub-system technologies. The research will provide a closer understanding of a vehicle’s emissions, energy flows, dynamic performance and efficiency. It will also improve insights into how a driver impacts on emissions and fuel economy and how changes to driving style could reduce the emissions signature of a vehicle.

Commenting, Professor Gary Hawley, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Design at the University of Bath, said: “We believe this innovative centre offers large automotive manufacturers, SMEs and academic researchers the ultimate combination of precision, flexibility and real world data for vehicle and sub-systems testing. Working with industry partners, we plan to create a nationwide hub for essential automotive research into low carbon engines and technologies that are both climate-friendly and affordable.”

The University of Bath’s Department of Mechanical Engineering has a history of research on current and future fuel-efficient, high performance engines working with a raft of companies including Ford, Jaguar Landrover, BP, Shell and Cummins Turbo Technologies.

The University of Bath will this year participate in the Low Carbon Vehicle Event 2014 in the University Showcase exhibition (stand C2-40a) at Millbrook Proving Ground.
Researchers who are interested in working with the University of Bath should contact Dr Chris Bannister at pvrc@bath.ac.uk.

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