Wednesday, 30 July 2014
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Award recognises efficient diesel engine technology

An emissions-cutting diesel engine technology developed using specially created design software has been recognised with an engineering award.

The device, which reduces the amount of oil that escapes through the engine’s ventilation system without the need for relatively expensive centrifuge technology, was awarded the Grand Prix at the British Engineering Excellence Awards.

Engineers at Parker Hannifin Manufacturing in the UK developed the system using software from Leeds University that devised precise changes to the design based on models of how the air flowed through it (computational fluid dynamics).

The ‘super impactor’ technology uses air from the engine’s turbocharger to effectively power a pump that sucks the oil-saturated engine air through a separator, rather than pushing the air through with the turbo flow or by using a centrifuge.

‘Because of the work we’ve done with Leeds, we’ve been able to make that jet pump more efficient and use such a small amount of turbo air that it’s hardly noticeable at all,’ said Adam Pearce of Parker Hannifin’s Racor Filter Division Europe.

Pearce said the super impactor could return oil to the engine with around 97 per cent efficiency, which is much higher than similarly priced filters — which also have to be regularly replaced — and almost as high as much more complex and expensive centrifuge technology.

Dr Nik Kapur, director of Leeds’ Institute of Engineering Thermofluids, said: ‘We gave Parker Hannifin the tools to make its design choices the best design choices. Underpinning that is all the computational fluid dynamics work we did in the lab to develop a better understanding of droplets impacting on surfaces.’

So far, Parker Hannifin has developed the technology for industrial and medium-sized truck engines, but it is now working on versions for much larger systems and testing a product with an additional filter to increase the efficiency to 99 per cent.

The research was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund Programme.


Readers' comments (2)

  • Even more technology to deal with a dirty and inefficient fuel. The emissions are already identified as cancerous yet we are tied in to using this part refined oil based fuel. Older readers may remember a long time ago when the Government of the day priced diesel as much cheaper than petrol to encourage the population to embrace diesel fuels. The prices seen today show what a major con that was and it was all done for increased revenue. The fuel is much cheaper to produce than petrol and therefore more money for the revenue. Ignore the cost in human sickness levels just get the money in.

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  • Trevor.
    Modern Diesel engines with a soot collector and Catalyser are now very clean and also rigorously tested at an MOT.

    Petrol on the other hand emits extremely harmful to health compounds in the vapour you may well inhale whilst refuelling.

    Diesel production is just an intermediate step in the processing (Cracking) of crude oils, from the highly volatile, through fuels of progressively lower volatility to eventually leave a Tar-like residue.

    Diesel was only cheaper in the past because fewer vehicles used it and so there was a surplus, hence the lower price. That is now to a degree reversed, aided of course by the higher calorific value of diesel providing better fuel economy, hence higher prices.

    It's market forces that define prices. Taxation may be an element, but it is largely taking advantage of demand, not driving it.

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