Current Research Activities

Study of Novel Biofuels from Biomass - Methyl-Furans (MF)

This project will expand the previous work on 2,5-Dimethylfuran (DMF), to cover the research on production technology; converting biomass to furan series as well as characterisation of a more attractive furanic family member 2-Methylfuran (MF). Biomass derived fuels like MF is not the only product formed from the biomass conversion. Bio MF is produced as a mixture with other compounds, referred to henceforth as MF-c (MF compounds), resulting from the degradation of the original biomass. The project aims to investigate systematically a whole technological pathway for the use and production of furanics (MF and MF compounds) as novel engine fuels via biomass conversion. The research will involve bioenergy and engine combustion technological areas and it will target the following specific objectives: 

1) To investigate the behaviours and combustion characteristics of MF and real-world MF-c based bio-oil in engines using experimental and numerical approaches

2) To improve understanding of mechanisms for production of bio-oils with MF and MF-c starting with lignocellulosic biomass 

3) To develop practical technology and process for efficient production of biofuels containing MF and MF-c

4) To investigate the impact of MF (MF-c) (including non-conventional emissions) involving health issues of users and CO2 footprint in the production and application of MF based biofuels 

Flex-diesel Engines with Sustainable Bio-fuels for Clean and Efficient On/Off Road Vehicle Engines (SERVE)

The project aims to provide technical solutions that will allow the diesel engine to operate with a diverse range of renewable fuels. It has two major objectives: 1) to identify the changes required by the engine system (including after treatment) to run on blends containing up to 30% of a variety of both generations bio-diesel fuels; 2) to develop novel 'Flex-diesel' technologies involving on-board pre- and after-treatment to maintain optimised engine performance and emissions with increasing percentages of fully sustainable bio-fuels and thermal management.

Impact of DMF on Engine Performance and Emissions as a New Generation of Sustainable Biofuel

This project aims to investigate the outstanding issues of DMF, as base fuel by the studies, through developing and validating the spray, combustion, emissions and engine models by conducting systematic experiments using advanced methodologies including: CFD, optical diagnostics and exhaust gas speciation, using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) alongside the on-line GCMS. The know-how acquired in this project will be of direct benefit to the UK and Chinese motor industries and academia. The project outcome will help to increase the market size of British and China's biofuel industries and will thus have impact on the development of the UK and China economy by increasing the opportunities for employment and profitability of agriculture and obviously will contribute to the reduction of carbon footprint of fuels for transportation.

Diesel Particulate Filter Regeneration with On-Board Produced Hydrogen-Rich Gas

The proposed research is part of a study on the development of a diesel engine emissions reduction system, with enhanced performance, by utilisation of hydrogen produced on-board by exhaust gas fuel reforming. The research is motivated by the requirement of diesel engines to meet future emission regulations and by the potential of on-board exhaust gas fuel reforming to provide a way of improving diesel combustion and emissions, as well as increasing the efficiency of diesel engine after treatment devices.

The system will have to be cost effective (i.e. use of base metal catalyst or reduced precious metal catalyst content) and should operate without the need of specific engine map development. Specifically, the purpose of the present proposal is to extent the scientific knowledge on PM after treatment assisted by reformate addition that will allow successful integration of the DPF and reforming technologies. The study unfolds into two main parts: i) investigation of the use of reformate to promote the soot oxidation and hence improve the DPF regeneration at low exhaust gas temperatures (Brunel University) and ii) investigation of the improvement of DPF regeneration by soot oxidation with NO2 achieved through promotion of the low temperature NO to NO2 conversion rates in a DOC situated upstream of the DPF by addition of small quantities of reformate (University of Birmingham). By extending the understanding of the fundamental processes occurring during NO oxidation and filter regeneration, new catalysts and catalytic systems will be designed and guidelines for the further stages of the research programme towards a full working diesel engine - fuel reformer – after treatment system will be developed.

Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition

Alternative fuels: biodiesel, ethanol, biogas, natural gas, hydrogen

On-board Hydrogen Generation by Exhaust Gas Fuel Reforming

  • Application in HCCI (CAI)
  • Diesel
  • Natural Gas SI

Analysis of Emissions & Particulates


Completed Projects:

Controlled Homogeneous Auto-ignition Supercharged Engine (CHASE)

The Future Power Systems Group has successfully completed the CHASE program. (Controlled Homogeneous Auto-ignition Supercharged Engine).

This project aimed to develop a clean and efficient powertrain system centred on a supercharged homogeneous charge compression ignition engine with on-board fuel reformer and thermal management. It was funded by the UK Government through the Foresight Vehicle Program in collaboration with Jaguar Cars.

Controlled Homogeneous Auto-Ignition Reformed Gas Engine (CHARGE)

The Future Power Systems Group has successfully completed the CHARGE program. (Controlled Homogeneous Auto-Ignition Reformed Gas Engine).

This project aimed in general at developing a clean and efficient powertrain system, in order to meet the challenge and requirement for the next generation of vehicles. This project was funded by the UK Government through the Foresight Vehicle Program in collaboration with Jaguar Cars.