Supercharged engine to cut exhaust emissions

A project to cut large car engine CO2 emissions by more than a third has received £2.2m from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

A consortium led by Jaguar Land Rover will attempt to develop a supercharged petrol engine half the size of a current 5.0L V8 model but with the same performance and a 35 per cent reduction in tailpipe emissions.

The three-year ‘Ultra Boost’ project will cost a total of £4.2m and will involve contributions from the universities of Bath, Leeds, and Imperial College London, as well as Shell, Lotus Engineering, GE Precision Engineering and CD-adapco.

‘The essential thing is to get the engine to behave as if it’s a small engine most of the time when you don’t need the high power output,’ Chris Brace, project investigator and senior lecturer at Bath University, told The Engineer.

‘And you’ve got to manage the transition effectively so that when you need the power it arrives quickly without hesitation and in a way that delivers refinement.’

Part of the challenge for the team will be developing supercharging technology that increases the density of air entering the engine sufficiently to increase the power output, without it impacting too heavily on the engine size or commercial constraints.

‘You don’t want to be driving a lot of air-charge management equipment at times when you don’t need it,’ said Brace. ‘[You want] to get the very high power density at some points but to prevent that from becoming a parasitic loss on the engine at other times.’

The project will use an air-charging facility developed by Dr Sam Akehurst of Bath University’s Powertrain & Vehicle Research Centre to investigate how to vary the flow rate, temperature and pressure of the air entering the engine.

Researchers at Imperial will design the supercharger while Leeds will provide expertise on combustion to ensure the engine responds at the specific high outputs required.

Jaguar Land Rover’s chief engineer, Malcolm Sandford, said: ’This hugely challenging project will help provide a range of technologies that will form the core of our engine downsizing, down-cylindering and down-speeding strategy.’

The project is funded as part of the second TSB competition under its Integrated Delivery Programme, which aims to reduce CO2 emissions and accelerate the introduction of low-carbon vehicles onto the roads.