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Enhancing our campus

How IAAPS will expand our infrastructure while exploring ways to reduce our impact on the environment. Part of the Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20.

IAAPS will next year open a new purpose-built facility that will lead the development of future generations of ultra-low and zero-emissions vehicles.

In order to support the growth of our research power and meet demand from our students, we are always working to enhance our facilities through investment in new buildings and IT infrastructure. Even though we are expanding our physical infrastructure we are always exploring new ways to minimise our impact on the environment, both through our own activities but also through research and the wider benefits this will bring.

Institute of Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems

Our engineers have a proud history of working with the automotive industry to deliver cutting-edge propulsion systems research. By investing in a new world-class research facility, we are set to significantly grow our role in charting the future of low and zero-carbon vehicles.

IAAPS, the Institute of Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems, will next year open a new purpose-built facility that will lead the development of future generations of ultra-low and zero-emissions vehicles, and help auto manufacturers improve efficiency and meet future air quality standards.

Based at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, the IAAPS facility represents a major £30m investment by us, and as a nationally-important site it has also attracted funding from local and national government totalling a further £39m. Construction has progressed strongly throughout 2020 and despite the impact of COVID19, work continued in a socially-distanced way during lockdown.

The Institute will provide our academics, research fellows and associates, technicians and postgraduate students the resources and tools to deliver world-class research that addresses the challenges of delivering clean, efficient and affordable propulsion systems in a sustainable way.

Benefits to the regional economy

The impact of IAAPS will also be felt beyond the research carried out on site - it will energise the regional economy too. Predicted to deliver £220m in economic value and £800m of additional turnover in the automotive industry within five years, it will provide the necessary skills required by the UK’s automotive industries. Developing 300 apprentices and Masters- and PhD-level experts is a key training target, and 1,900 new jobs are set to be generated nationally.

The new facility will house a unique combination of state-of-the-art equipment in 17 research laboratories capable of investigating the characteristics of high-efficiency engines, future fuels, advanced battery combinations, electrical motors and drives and whole-vehicle systems. Regardless of the propulsion systems being developed to meet future legislative emissions requirements, equipment in the new facility has been specifically planned to allow any configuration to be investigated.

Partnership is at the heart of the IAAPS facility, and the internal layout has been designed to encourage collaborative working. Labs are positioned either side of a central communal area that features teaching spaces, meeting rooms and flexible working areas that will allow our people to engage with industry and other institutions.

IAAPS is key to our national leadership in propulsion systems efficiency for the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC UK), an organisation set up by Government and industry to keep UK automotive capability at the cutting edge.

Ian Constance, APC UK chief executive officer, says: “IAAPS will be pivotal in bringing together UK academic excellence and industry to develop and test the next generation of automotive propulsion technology. Advanced testing facilities help to anchor and grow research and development (R&D) activity, and with a focus on zero-emission and ultra-low carbon technology the facility will be an important part of the UK’s green recovery and transition.”

IAAPS builds on our 40-year history of research into propulsion systems, funded by APC UK, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Innovate UK, along with a wide range of national and global businesses. The new research facility is supported by Research England and the West of England Combined Authority Local Enterprise Partnership.