Electric car axial engine development to become environmentally friendly alternative

According to TUjobs, scientists from Trondheim and Warsaw are teaming up to help develop an electric car Axial engine, with the aim of creating an environmentally friendly alternative to the combustion engine.

The project, which is a collaboration between NTNU and the Warsaw University of Technology, was initiated just before Easter and will last for the next three years. The EEA-funding (Norway Grants) of the project, to the sum of 7.5 million NOK, is sufficient to cover the expenses of the project.

NTNU can contribute by offering a significant environment within modeling combustion processes, as well as a new engine-lab.

Professor and project manager at NTNU, Therese Lovas, states, “Axial engines have much better effect than today’s combustion engines of the same weight, and have potential for substantial lower emissions. Our goal is to create a small combustion engine that can function as a backup in electric cars. If electric cars are to function outside of the city centers, it is essential that they do not rely 100 percent on batteries. This engine can charge the battery in a short amount of time.”

Professor Lovas is being accompanied by Marcin Dutka from Poland, a PhD-student from NTNU who has experience working with the engine experts of Warsaw.

“We wish to create an environmentally friendly engine using the combustion concept HCCI (Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition). HCCI is a combination of diesel and gasoline combustion, and could reduce emissions significantly. “A gasoline engine has a lower efficiency than a diesel engine, while the diesel engine pollutes more. With the aid of HCCI and the axial engine we can solve both of these challenges,” explains Dutka.

The positives of using an Axial engine is that it the engine takes environmentally friendly bio-fuel (E85) and HCCI, meaning that the engine will consume less fuel and cause less pollution.

TUjobs’ article states that NTNU can simulate what happens inside an engine using modern computer equipment.

“We have just received a new laboratory for testing engines. Through the help of sensors we can discover more about emissions, and especially how efficient the engines are. This laboratory will come in handy when it comes to testing the prototype,” comments Lovas.

Today, it is not allowed to place combustion engines in electrical cars in Norway without having them lose status as an electrical car. But BMW and many other car brands have already placed gasoline backup engines in their electric cars. The researchers work towards an engine that will not have the same function as a hybrid.

“Our engine will only be used to quickly charge the battery of the car. We are excited to see how the electrical car market will develop. I think the tax pressure on this kind of car will rise, and that commercial vehicles like buses and trucks will be battery driven in a few short years,” comments the professor.

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