New weapons in carbon battle
Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), an Essex company specialising in CO2 reduction for the automotive industry, this week presented a number of affordable ‘micro-hybrid' solutions for reducing carbon emissions at an international ‘Green Vehicle Congress' in Newcastle.
The three-day event was organised by Cenex, the UK's centre of excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, in partnership with regional development agency One North East, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Knowledge Transfer Network.
Delegates from China, Germany, India, Italy, Korea and the US were invited to attend and engage with UK companies.
"The industry needs immediate solutions at a price the motorist is prepared to pay," said CPT chief executive, Nick Pascoe, who delivered two presentations.
"This means achieving major fuel savings, if possible without introducing significant change to the vehicle or engine design."
The need to reduce CO2 emissions is paramount. The industry has less than two years to ensure all new cars sold in Europe meet a fleet average of 130g/km requiring a 16 per cent reduction from current levels.
The same 2012 deadline has been imposed in the US with its first nationwide carbon emissions target of 250g/mile (155g/km), with permission for individual states to impose tighter limits.
Pascoe proposes a number of solutions including stop-start, electric supercharging and exhaust gas regeneration.
"Micro-hybrid technologies minimise the additional cost to the consumer to between €200 and €900 compared to between €3,000 and €15,000 for a full hybrid," he says.
"The entire industry is working flat out to reduce the cost of hybrid and electric vehicles, but currently they remain an expensive solution; though costs will reduce with further technical developments and battery and fuel cell breakthroughs."
CPT is actively involved in these developments, but in the short term sees stop-start as the most likely near term technology to enter the automotive mainstream and anticipates it becoming a standard device on virtually all vehicles, especially for tackling congested urban environments where the fuel and CO2 benefits can be significant.
Stop-start technology currently accounts for less than five per cent of new car sales, but will increasingly be offered by car makers says the CO2 reduction specialist.
CPT's engineering portfolio includes its award-winning SpeedStart technology, which can be cost-effectively applied to a wide range of gasoline and diesel engines.
The technology is more advanced than many existing stop-start systems and lends itself to heavy usage and premium vehicle applications; providing a powerful, refined and controllable stop-start solution that is far more efficient and can be used more often.
"Only by maximising the number of stop-start events can fuel consumption and CO2 emissions be significantly reduced," says Pascoe. "Its potential for energy recovery under braking is also considerable."
The world's first bespoke belt-driven integrated starter generator (B-ISG) to operate at 12 volts also resolves all the issues that initially made car makers reluctant to introduce stop-start.
As the name implies, SpeedStart can restart an engine in half the time of a conventional starter motor and is currently the best stop-start technology able to cope with ‘driver change of mind'; an all too frequent occurrence when drivers suddenly have the opportunity to drive on, but with conventional stop-start systems the engine has already reached the point of no return and can no longer be prevented from shutting down before it can be restarted.
SpeedStart also allows the driver to leave the vehicle in gear, meaning it's unobtrusive and there is no change of driving behaviour required of the driver.
Other CO2 reducing technologies from CPT include the company's launch ready VTES electric supercharger. Unlike a turbocharger or crankshaft driven supercharger, the CPT method of boosting is completely independent of engine speed and offers precise electronic control.
No matter how low the engine revs, the 2kW booster remains highly responsive and fast acting. This crucial difference means the technology is perfectly suited to maintaining vehicle performance and driveability - now widely recognised as a critical marketing issue for down-speeded vehicles with taller gearing or more radical engine downsizing.
Completing the line-up of CO2 reducing technologies is CPT's innovative TIGERS turbo-generator for exhaust gas energy recovery, which is currently under development.
Coupled to an exhaust driven turbine the air or water cooled device is intended to generate electrical power during steady state cruising. Exhaust gases provide an efficient and underutilised method of power regeneration, particularly for a throttled gasoline engine, and can further help improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions.
All three technologies have been applied to a number of technical collaborations and development projects with leading car makers, engine developers, Tier 1 suppliers and engineering consultancies.
"With all three technologies there is very little modification to the base engine design or vehicle electrical architecture enabling vehicle manufacturers to apply them at relatively low cost," says Pascoe.
Other potential applications include fuel cell electric vehicles and emission reduction in diesel engines.
Controlled Power Technologies was set up in 2007 as a management buy-in funded by venture capital initially to acquire advanced powertrain technologies from Visteon Corporation and its technology development partner Emerson Corporation.
CPT comes with a highly experienced team of automotive engineers and is backed by a number of prominent investors specialising in the energy and environmental sectors.