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.