Engine heat waste recovery for greener vehicles

Road vehicles are one of the main contributors to increasing CO2 emissions. In order to reduce the reliance on the consumption of fossil fuels, Birmingham City University is conducting research to convert the wasted heat of the combustion engine into energy, thus fully optimising the fuel and reducing the need for frequent refuelling. 

Engine heat waste recovery for greener vehichles


Research background

Automotive vehicles account for over one-fifth of global CO2 emission and hence there is an ever-increasing need to reduce the burden on the environment. One way is to recover waste heat from vehicles which will indirectly reduce the need for burning more fresh fuels. Fuel reformers provide a useful means by which hydrogen can be obtained, which itself acts as a fuel. The performance of the system is still experimental and correct positioning and type of catalyst is still an area of intensive research.]

Research aims

The aim is to design a fuel reformer catalyst optimized for quick light off, ensure uniformity of flow and minimum pressure drop in the system. Various factors will be investigated such as the spacing of the catalyst, size of the catalyst etc. The effect of retention time will also be investigated.

Research methods

The research is currently being carried out using Computational Fluid Dynamics software CFX and ANSYS. The data generated will be compared with reliable data. Various combustion models will be tried to establish the best performing model.

Projected outcomes 

This is an ongoing research project. Results obtained with various existing models show encouraging and interesting results. Work is currently being undertaken to establish the best performing model. Eventually, this would allow us to carry out parametric studies on catalyst positioning.