Ricardo leads two new emissions-R&D collaborations

  • 14-Dec-2009 03:57 EST

Detail of Ricardo's Kinergy flywheel system showing the permanent magnet configuration.

Extracting huge improvements in efficiency from gasoline and diesel engines is the target of many OEMs and industry collaborations, including two recent projects led by Ricardo—HyBoost and KinerStor.

HyBoost is a two-year research project to develop a gasoline engine that returns up to 40% CO2 emissions reduction without compromising performance and using practical and near-market-ready technologies. The KinerStor project's goal is to demonstrate the viability of a low-cost flywheel-type hybrid system. 

“The stated targets of this research would enable a consumer-attractive ‘average car’ to be offered with CO2 emissions well below the mandated future target set for the European fleet average without compromising vehicle performance,” said Neville Jackson, Ricardo Group Technology Director, about HyBoost.

Ricardo is working in partnership with Controlled Power Technologies, the European Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium, Ford, Imperial College London, and Valeo. The HyBoost project is supported by an investment from the U.K. Government-backed Technology Strategy Board with balancing resources provided by the project partners.

The goal is to demonstrate a cost-effective, ultra-efficient gasoline engine in a C-segment passenger car. The vehicle would offer the performance of a 2.0-L model but with a real-world 30-40% reduction in CO2 emissions to below 100 g/km.

Technology will include the synergistic application of an “extremely” downsized gasoline engine coupled with electrified boosting and exhaust gas energy recovery, micro-hybrid functionality with stop/start, torque assist and regenerative braking, and a novel energy storage technology.

Jackson explained that the technologies to be incorporated in the HyBoost demonstrator vehicle will be restricted to innovations which are capable of practical production implementation in the near term. They must be constructed with readily available and affordable materials and have the level of high scalability required by the automotive sector.

KinerStor, Ricardo's second Technology Strategy Board project, is focused on flywheel energy storage. It is a collaboration with JCB, Land Rover, CTGTorotrakSKF, and Williams Hybrid Power. The aim is to demonstrate a potential to cut fuel consumption and emissions by about 30% at an on-cost of less than some $1600. That figure would allow a mass-market uptake of the technology from small cars to premium SUVs, said Jackson.

He noted that the project will research and “de-risk” the principle-critical flywheel subsystems individually before bringing them together for system optimization in two forms: a mechanical/magnetic coupled system developed by Ricardo called Kinergy and an electrically coupled unit developed by Williams Hybrid Power.

The project team plans to design, build, and test prototypes ready for in-vehicle demonstration. With an eye to volume manufacture, focus will be on low-cost composite fibers and specialist steels, CVTs (Continuously Variable Transmissions); bearing and coupling design; and drivetrain integration.

The project’s structure will allow for the development of common core-technology solutions that could be tailored to specific OEM requirements, Jackson said.

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