Testing programme on heavy-duty diesel engines gets underway

16 October 2023

IAAPS is pleased to be leading a comprehensive testing programme on two heavy-duty diesel engines as part of the Trident project, supported by the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC), with both industry and government funding.

Testing of the Cummins X15 diesel engine commenced in July and was completed mid-September, while the Z14 engine is being tested from late October.

The testing forms the basis for fundamental research that aims to deliver a step change in air handling systems for all diesel, natural gas and hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems. Each of these has a part to play in the road to net zero, with higher efficiency diesel engines making significant contributions in the short and medium term, with switches to low carbon fuels through natural gas and hydrogen in the longer term. The goal is to create models that will be at the heart for the digital engineering tools that will be used to design and deliver heavy duty propulsion systems in 2027 and beyond.  

In all cases, the air handling has a significant impact on the overall efficiency of the propulsion systems, and therefore its total cost of ownership and ultimately its viability. The research is pivotal in furthering understanding of how turbomachinery and prime-energy convertors interact with each other. The diesel engines and the state of the art measurements at IAAPS are used to formulate, test and validate new mathematical models of turbomachinery.

These results, and their associated mathematical models, will underpin current understanding of system behaviour and our ability to optimise this system. The work looks at how a lack of understanding and ability to model heat transfer, unsteady flows and control uncertainties limits the efficiencies that can be achieved in today’s vehicles. The models will sit inside simulation tools, new processes will use these models by engineers designing new propulsion systems for 2027 and 2030. This will unlock new tools that allow the next generations of heavy duty propulsion systems to be more efficient and cleaner for the environment.

Project Trident is a collaborative research and development project led by Cummins, partnered by IAAPS with Holtex and Aeristech. It has a total project value of £20 million, of which £10 million is government funded through the APC.

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