Professor Hongming Xu CEng, FIMechE, FHEA, FSAE

Professor Hongming Xu

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Chair in Energy and Automotive Engineering
Head of Vehicle and Engine Technology Centre

Contact details

+44 (0) 121 414 4153
+44 (0) 121 414 3958
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Mechanical Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Hongming Xu is Professor of Energy and Automotive Engineering and Head of the Vehicle Technology Research Centre. He is Director of Birmingham CASE Automotive Research and Education Centre.

He has 6 years of industrial experience with Jaguar Land Rover and Premier Automotive Group of Ford. He researches synergies between fuel, propulsion and after-treatment technologies for cleaner road vehicles.

He has 450+ publications (including 200+ refereed journal papers and 200+ conference publications) in engine flow, combustion, emissions, transient operation control and hybrid electric powertrain development involving both experimental and modelling studies. His current main research area is new fuels and electrified powertrains with artificial intelligence based control and optimisation.


  • PhD & DIC, in Mechanical Engineering (Internal Combustion Engines), Imperial College, University of London, 1995
  • MSc (Eng), in Mechanical Engineering (Internal Combustion Engines), Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, 1984
  • BSc (Eng), Mechanical Engineering (Internal Combustion Engines), Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, 1982


Professor Hongming Xu obtained BEng and MEng from Hefei University of Technology in 1982 and 1984 respectively where he worked subsequently as lecturer until 1990.

He obtained PhD from Imperial College London in 1995 and then worked there as Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow. He moved to Jaguar Cars Ford Premier Automotive Group in 2000, where he was a Project Engineer (2000-2001), Team Leader (2002-2004), and Principal Technical Specialist until he joined the University of Birmingham in 2005 as Reader in Automotive Engineering.

He was appointed to the Chair of Energy and Automotive Engineering in 2009. 


Teaching Programmes

  • Automotive Design Process 
  • Powertrain Engineering
  • Turbomachinery and Complex Flow
  • Sustainable Energy

Postgraduate supervision

Hongming Xu’s research interests include powertrain system control, fossil fuels and biofuels, fuel systems and mixture preparation, combustion, formation and mitigation of emissions.

Previous PhD students
1. Sathaporn Chuepeng, “Quantitative Impacat on Engine Performance and Emissions of High Proportion Biodiesel Blends and the Required Engine Control Strategies,” 2008 (joint supervision)
2. Jacek Misztal, “Study of Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) Combustion and Emission Characteristics in a Multi-Cylinder Engine,” 2009
3. Rizalman Mamat, “Performance and Emission Characteristics of an Automotive Diesel Engine Using Biodiesel Fuel with the Influence of Air Intake Variables,” 2009
4. Pawel Luszcz, “Combustion Diagnostics in Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition Optical and Thermal Single Cylinder Engines,” 2009
5. Marcin Frackowiak, “Modelling and Diagnostic Study of Flow in an Optical Engine with Negative Valve Overlapping for Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition,” 2009
6. George Constandinides, “Thermal Management and Control of a Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) Engine,” 2010
7. Dale Turner, “The Combustion and Emissions Performance Of Fuel Blends In Modern Combustion Systems,” 2010
8. Jun Zhang, “Particle Matter Emission Control and Related Issues for Diesel Engines,” 2011
9. Richie Daniel, “Combustion and Emissions Performance of Oxygenated Fuels in a Modern Spark ignition Engine,” 2012
10. Yanfei Li, “Experimental Study on Spray and Combustion Characteristics of Diesel-like Fuels,” 2012
11. He Ma, “Control Oriented Engine Modelling and Engine Multiple-objective Optimal Feedback Control,” 2013
12. Fan Zhang, “Spray, Combustion and Emission Characteristics of dieseline Fuel,” 2013
13. Haiying Li, “CFD Modelling Study of Spray and Combustion of Gasoline and DMF in Direct Gasoline Engines,” 2013
14. Chongming Wang, “Combustion and emissions of a direct injection gasoline engine using biofuels,” 2014
15. Changzhao Jiang, “Optical Investigation on the spray and combustion characteristics of the furan bio-fuels,” 2014
16. Dai Liu, “Combustion and emissions of an automotive diesel engine using biodiesel fuels under steady and start conditions,” 2014
17. Powen Tu, “Numerical and experimental study of spray characteristics in the gasoline direct injection engine,” 2015
18. Daliang Jing, “Experimental and numerical studies of fuel spray,” 2015
19. Chen Tan, “Model based Control for a Modern Automotive Diesel Engine,” 2015
20. Bowen Du, Numerical and Experimental Study of Spray Characteristics in the Gasoline Direct Injection Engine, 2016
21. Jianyi Tian, “Particulate emission characteristics of a light duty diesel engine under transient operation conditions,” 2015
22. Thomas Lattimore, “Combustion and emissions of a direct injection gasoline engine using EGR,” 2015
23. Ziman Wang, “Experimental study on diesel spray with single and multiple injection under room temperature and low temperature”, 2015 (joint supervision)
24. Yasser Qahtani, “Particulate matter characterization and control in premixed compression ignition engines”, 2016
25. Soheil Zeraati Rezaei, “Experimental investigation of a premixed compression ignition engine”, 2016
26. Tawfik Badawy, ‘’Optical Diagnostics of Flow and Combustion’’, 2017
27. Hengjie Guo, ‘’Experimental and Numerical Study on Multi-Jet Spray Collapse Under Flashing Condition in GDI Engines (Tsinghua University)’’, 2017
28. Yunfan Zhang, ‘’Optimization and control of a dual-loop EGR system on a modern Diesel engine’’, 2018.
29. Scott Cash, ‘‘Hybrid Electric Vehicle Modelling and Control’’, 2018.
30. Olalere Rafiu Kayode, ‘‘investigating the combustion and emissions behaviour of MF and MTHF'’, 2018.
31. Quan Zhou, ‘’Artificial Intelligence for Hybrid Electric Vehicles Development and Control’’, 2019.
32. Ziyang Li, ‘’Online dynamic optimization for the engine management system using artificial intelligence methods’’, 2019.
33. Shuai Liang, ‘’PAHs and soot formation in laminar partially premixed co-flow flames fuelled by PRFs at elevated pressures (Tsinghua University)’’, 2019
34. Aawishkar Dharmadhikari, ‘’Particular Matter Emissions Characteristics, Dynamics and Control in Compression Ignition Engines’’, 2020.
35. Lewis Parry, ‘’Diesel Engine Combustion with Dual Fuel and EGR, 2020.
36. Ji Li, ‘’ Driver-oriented Intelligent Control Methodology for Series-Parallel Hybrid Electric Vehicles’’, 2020.
37. Carlo Coratella, ‘’ Experimental investigation of the non-uniformity of jets velocities exiting a multi-hole injector’’, 2021.
38. Yinglong He, ‘’Developing and Evaluating the Driving and Powertrain Systems of Automated and Electrified Vehicles for Sustainable Transport’’, 2021.
39. Zhou Zhang, ‘’Effect of Ethanol Blending on Particulate Matter Emissions of Direct Injection Gasoline Engines (Tsinghua University)’’, 2021
40. Bin Shuai, ‘’ Real-time energy management of the hybrid off-highway vehicle using reinforcement learning’’, 2022.
41. Zeyu Sun, “Development of a hybrid battery thermal management system for electric vehicle based on merged digital and physical twinning”,2023.

Previous exchange PhD students
1. Xuesong Wu - Combustion and emissions analysis of ‘dual-injection strategy’, Joint Ph.D. with Xi’an Jiaotong University, 2010
2. Yan Gao – performance of catalyst for exhaust gas, Joint Ph.D. with Shandong University, 2013.
3. Haichun Ding – Spray Characterization of Alternative Fuel, Joint Ph.D. with Hefei University of Technology, 2015.
4. Jiyuan Xu - Investigation into the characteristics of DISI Injector deposits, Joint Ph.D. with Shangdong University, 2015.
5. Bo Wang – CFD Modelling of in-cylinder mixture, Joint Ph.D. with University of Nottingham, 2016
6. Yizhou Jiang – Optical Diagnostics of Engine Spray and Combustion, Tsinghua University, 2017
7. Zhirong Liang - Particle emissions with 2DxGCMS, Joint Ph.D. with Beihang University, 2017
8. Zhenhua Gao – Studies of Chemical Kinetics and Reaction Kinetics, Joint Ph.D. with Xi’an Jiaotong University, 2018
9. Mengzhu Zhang – Computational Fluid Dynamics and combustion analysis, Joint Ph.D. with Beijing institute of technology,2020
10. Ze Zhou – Experimental and numerical studies of flash boiling characteristics of binary fuels, Joint Ph.D. with Wuhan University of Technology, 2022
11. Wan Chen – NVH of the vehicle system, Joint Ph.D. with Wuhan University of Technology, 2022
12. Jinhai Wang – Deep reinforcement learning for energy Management control for hybrid vehicles, Joint Ph.D. with Wuhan University of Technology, 2023
13. Zhong Ren - Battery modeling and state estimation for lithium-ion batteries, Joint Ph.D. with Wuhan University of Technology, 2023

Current PhD students
1. Mr Cetengfei Zhang- Online optimal Energy Management Control for Hybrid vehicles
2. Miss Hua Min, Deep Reinforcement Learning for Real-time Control of Electrified Vehicles
3. Mr Xu He, Control Optimization of Extended-Range Electric Vehicles
4. Mr Fanggang Zhang – Energy Management of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles
5. Mr Chengqing Wen, Improvement of Energy Management System for Electric Vehicles
6. Mr Hongyu Sun, Decision-making with trustworthy reinforcement learning for connected and autonomous vehicles
7. Mr Abdul Abdillah, Machine learning in battery modeling and state prediction for lithium-ion batteries
8. Miss Shiyi Yin, Physics-informed driving trajectory prediction within mixed traffic scenario
9. Mr Yifan Xiong (MRes), Planning and control for autonomous vehicles

Post-Doctoral Research Fellows
Several positions open - applications welcome

Current exchange PhD students
1. Yanhong Wu – Data-Driven Model Predictive Control for Vehicular Platoon
2. Yiqi Jia– Lithium-ion batteries PHM by exploiting mechanical-based measurements and
machine learning
3. Kun Jiang- Multi-agent reinforcement learning in energy management for electrified vehicles

Previous Research Fellows
1. Dr Guohong Tian, Jan 2008 – July 2010, now Associate Professor, Surrey University, Alternative fuels for Internal Combustion engines
2. Dr He Ma, March 2013 - Oct 2015, Real-time Model based Next Generation Engine Management System, now with Ricardo
3. Dr Arumugam Ramadhas, March 2013 - Feb 2015 - Cold Start of Diesel Engines (Marie Curie Fellow), now Principal Consultant, manufacturing vertical lead, Infosys Knowledge Institute, India
4. Dr Mohammadreza Anbari Attar, Oct 2013 - Dec 2015 – Combustion and Emissions High Efficient Engines with Boosting-2013-2015
5. Dr Asish Sarangi, May 2012 - Oct 2013- Fuel injection, now Assistant professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
6. Dr Dhananjay Kumar Srivastava – 2011, GDI Engine Deposits, now Assistant professor, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
7. Dr Guoxiang Lu, Mar 2015 - Jan 2017 – Low-Pressure EGR Control Strategy Development, now Director of Product Planning and New Automobile Technology Center, BYD Auto Industry Co. Ltd, China
8. Dr Chongming Wang, Jan 2015 - Jan 2018 – Combustion and emissions in DISI engine fuelled with biofuels (Marie Curie Fellow) – now Assistant Professor, Coventry University
9. Dr Manju Dhakad Tanwar, Mar 2015 – Feb 2017 - Engine combustion and after treatment (Marie Curie Fellow).
10. Dr Wei Zhang, Oct 2015 – Sept 2017 – Hybrid electric vehicle energy management and control
11. Lucas Miles Polglase, July 2014 – April 2018 – Engineer, development of advanced combustion systems
12. Dr Shaohua Zhong, Feb 2009 – Jan 2010 – Studies on biofuels, now Professor, Wuhan University of Technology
13. Dr Xiao Ma, Nov 2011- April 2013 – Optical diagnostics of spray and combustion, now Associate Professor, Tsinghua University
14. Dr Amrit Sahu, Feb 2017 - Apr 2019 - Optical diagnostics of combustion
15. Dr Haoye Liu, Feb 2018 – August 2021 – Advanced Fuel and Engine Combustion, now Associate Professor, Tianjin University
16. Dr Quan Zhou, April 2019 - April 2022 – Vehicle electrification and automation now Assistant Professor, University of Birmingham
17. Dr Ji Li, Jan 2021 - Jan 2023, Human-Machine-AI System for Autonomous and Connected Vehicles

Current Research Fellow
1. Dr Gengxin Zhang – Research fellow at CASE-V team, Optical diagnostics of spray and combustion for low-carbon or zero-carbon fuels


Professor Xu is working on control of future powertrains using AI technology and he has research experience in flow/turbulence, diesel/gasoline spray, mixture preparation, ignition, premixed/diffusion combustion, new combustion mode, emission formation/control, biodiesels, engine modelling, and operation control. He also has experience in turbomachinery/turbocharging, engine design and various advanced engine technologies.

Previous major projects as PI (2002-2019): £10 millions

Controlled Homogeneous Autoignition Reformed Gas Engine (CHARGE), DTI, 2002 - 2004

Controlled Homogeneous Autoignition Supercharged Engine (CHASE), DTI, 2004 - 2007

Combustion, performance & emissions of biodiesels (COPE), JLR, 2007 - 2008

Flex-diesel Engines with Sustainable Bio-fuels for Clean and Efficient On- and Off-Road Vehicle Engines (SERVE), TSB, 2007- 2010

Impact of DMF on Engine Performance and Emissions as a New Generation of Sustainable Biofuel, EPSRC, 2008 - 2011

HCCI engine technology research, JLR,  2007 - 2012

Thermal Management, JLR, 2007- 2012

Continuous Oxidation using NO2 Combustion for Exhaust Particulate Treatment (CONCEPT), JLR, Nov 2007-2009

Combustion and emissions of ethanol in a direct injection engine, Shell, 2008 - 2009

Combustion mechanism of furan fuels, Royal Society, 2011 – 2013

Biodiesel engine cold start,  2012 - 2014

Effect of fuel properties on GDI engines, 2012 - 2015

Next generation of GDI engines with boosting, 2012-2015

New control methodology for the next generation of engine management systems, 2013 -2016

X-in-the-loop diesel engine control, 2013 – 2016

Study of Novel Biofuels from Biomass  2016 - 2019 

Study of diesel particulate matter emissions, 2013 – 2018

Hybrid vehicle development, 2015-2017

Engine exhaust emissions, 2016 - 2018

AI-based Hybrid vehicle energy management, 2019 -2021


Ongoing major projects:   external funding over £1 million

AI Strategy for dual-mode engine development, BYD, 2020-2022

Real-time optimization system for PHEVs, JITRI, 2020-2025

Premixed Combustion Flame Instability Characteristics, EPSRC (EP/W002299/1), 2022-2025


Main research interests include:

1. Research and Development of Thermal Propulsion Systems

2. Connected and Autonomous Systems for Electrified Vehicles (CASE-V):

  • Level 1 - Engine/motor level transient control
  • Level 2 - Powertrain-level component sizing and energy management 
  • Level 3 - Vehicle-level driver-machine interaction
  • Level 4 - Fleet-level collaborative energy management with vehicle-to-everything (V2X) network. 


Recent publications


Badawy, T, Turner, JWG & Xu, H 2024, 'Evaluation of engine performance and emissions in an optical DISI engine with various spark plug designs and gaps', Fuel, vol. 357, no. Part B, 129900.

Olalere, RK, Zhang, G & Xu, H 2024, 'Experimental Investigation of Gaseous Emissions and Hydrocarbon Speciation for MF and MTHF Gasoline Blends in DISI Engine', International Journal of Automotive Manufacturing and Materials, vol. 3, no. 1, 6.

Zhang, F, Zhang, G, Wang, Z, Wu, D, Jangi, M & Xu, H 2024, 'Experimental investigation on combustion and emission characteristics of non-premixed ammonia/hydrogen flame', International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, vol. 61, pp. 25-38.

Zhou, Z, Yan, F, Zhang, G, Wu, D & Xu, H 2023, 'A Study on the Dynamic Collision Behaviors of a Hydrous Ethanol Droplet on a Heated Surface', Processes, vol. 11, no. 6, 1804.

Liao, J, Hu, J, Yan, F, Chen, P, Zhu, L, Zhou, Q, Xu, H & Li, J 2023, 'A comparative investigation of advanced machine learning methods for predicting transient emission characteristic of diesel engine', Fuel, vol. 350, 128767.

Li, G, Chen, H, Zhang, Y, Xu, H, Niu, M & Yang, C 2023, 'Development of a detailed kinetic model for high-pressure ethanol oxidation in gas phase and supercritical water', Journal of Supercritical Fluids, vol. 201, 106025.

Hua, M, Zhang, C, Zhang, F, Li, Z, Yu, X, Xu, H & Zhou, Q 2023, 'Energy management of multi-mode plug-in hybrid electric vehicle using multi-agent deep reinforcement learning', Applied Energy, vol. 348, 121526.

Li, J, Zhou, Q, Williams, H, Xu, P, Xu, H & Lu, G 2022, 'Fuzzy-tree-constructed data-efficient modelling methodology for volumetric efficiency of dedicated hybrid engines', Applied Energy, vol. 310, 118534.

Li, J, Wu, D, Mohammadsami Attar, H & Xu, H 2022, 'Geometric neuro-fuzzy transfer learning for in-cylinder pressure modelling of a diesel engine fuelled with raw microalgae oil', Applied Energy, vol. 306, no. Part A, 118014.

Li, J, Zhou, Q, Williams, H & Xu, H 2022, 'Statistics-Guided Accelerated Swarm Feature Selection in Data-Driven Soft Sensors for Hybrid Engine Performance Prediction', IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, vol. 2022, 9858604, pp. 1-11.

Zhou, Q, Li, Y, Zhao, D, Li, J, Williams, H, Xu, H & Yan, F 2022, 'Transferable representation modelling for real-time energy management of the plug-in hybrid vehicle based on k-fold fuzzy learning and Gaussian process regression', Applied Energy, vol. 305, 117853.

Conference contribution

He, X, Li, J, Zhou, Q & Xu, H 2024, Human-Road Dual Trust Mechanism in Adaptive Distributed Shared Control Framework under Lane Keeping Scenario. in 2023 7th CAA International Conference on Vehicular Control and Intelligence (CVCI)., 10397103, Conference on Vehicle Control and Intelligence (CVCI), IEEE, 2023 7th CAA International Conference on Vehicular Control and Intelligence (CVCI), 27/10/23.

Liu, K, Li, J, Zhu, C, Chen, T, Li, K, Zhou, Q & Xu, H 2022, Electrothermally-aware multi-objective modular design: a case study on series-parallel hybrid propulsion systems. in 2022 IEEE 5th International Electrical and Energy Conference (CIEEC)., 9845925, China International Electrical and Energy Conference (CIEEC), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), pp. 1912-1917, 2022 IEEE 5th International Electrical and Energy Conference (CIEEC), 27/05/22.


Li, J, Zhou, Q, He, X & Xu, H 2022, 'Letter: driver-centric velocity prediction with multidimensional fuzzy granulation', IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica.

Review article

Zhou, Q, Li, J & Xu, H 2022, 'Artificial Intelligence and Its Roles in the R&D of Vehicle Powertrain Products', International Journal of Automotive Manufacturing and Materials, vol. 1, no. 1, 6.

View all publications in research portal