Daniel Wilcox

BEng Engineering (Automotive Engineering)

Project Title: Feasibility and Optimisation of a Pneumatic Hybrid Using the WLTP Drive Cycle

Project Description

Initially, my project was an investigation into the feasibility of using a pneumatic hybrid system in a road application. I studied the NEDC and WLTP drive cycles and proved the benefit of regeneration systems when braking. I discussed the benefit of using the engine as a compressor to store energy as compressed air so other energy storage devices like batteries are not needed.

My next challenge was to prove whether a regeneration system should be used whilst driving to make the fuel burnt be at the ideal specific fuel consumption. A question was then raised whether cylinder deactivation is the best solution to use fuel efficiently. The benefits of cylinder deactivation were proved in a simulation of WLTP drive cycle written in Excel using data from the Ford Fox engine. The efficiency was then proved using a regeneration system along side a regeneration system to run the engine at its ideal specific fuel consumption whilst also burning as little fuel as needed to drive the vehicle at that second in the drive cycle.

Saving fuel by burning it at its most efficient point is fantastic for quoted fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. However, when running at the most efficient point of the engine’s operating window, there is a large amount of Nitrogen Oxide produced. At the time of writing this, I am deciding how to retain the economy and efficiency of cylinder deactivation and the regeneration system without increasing NOX emissions from the engine running without deactivation. Whilst cylinder deactivation and the regeneration system may increase NOX in one instance, it may produce that NOX less often which may in fact reduce NOX overall.

I have very much enjoyed simulating drive cycles and studying not only how to improve the efficiency and emissions of a vehicle, but also how to accurately simulate the vehicle. I optimised gears in the WLTP cycle, simulated the heating of the engine from room temperature, and even conducted a sensitivity analysis of variables like coefficient of rolling resistance and drag.

I studied Automotive Engineering as I have a passion for the automotive industry, and I wanted to gain a better understanding of some of the main engineering concepts. I knew I had an interest in maths and physics, but I had little experience in areas like vehicle dynamics or powertrain and I wanted to expand this. I wanted to combine my love of cars with my enjoyment of problem solving.

UWTSD was an easy choice for me. On the open day, I felt the excitement of the new campus but also saw the passion for engineering and the automotive industry when speaking to the lecturers. I loved the size of the university and the ratio of students to lectures as it meant I had the confidence to ask questions and there was always great contact time between students and lecturers.

After graduation, I am considering studying a masters. I have particularly enjoyed powertrain and very much enjoy sustainability. I am looking for work in the automotive industry improving efficiency within the powertrain of road cars whether it be petrol, hybrid EV or perhaps a completely different power source.

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