IAAPS provides key insight for APC Industry Challenges Report on Thermal Propulsion Systems

Members of the IAAPS academic team have shared key insight and research for the ‘Industry Challenges Report’ on Thermal Propulsion Systems, published by the Advanced Propulsion Centre  (APC). The document is part of six ‘Industry Challenges’ reports compiled with the support of the APC Spoke Community, a national network which brings together specialist academic, technological and commercial expertise to share best practice for the development of low emission propulsion technologies. IAAPS is the System Efficiency Spoke of the APC Spoke network.

The reports highlight cross-technology and product focused propulsion challenges on the path to a net zero future and present the technical barriers to commercialising low-carbon automotive technology in the short, medium and long term.

Developed using consensus insight from over 130 organisations, including vehicle manufacturers, technology developers and engineering consultancies, the reports identify the most significant technology themes and automotive R&D opportunities that could springboard innovation. These cover: Electrical Energy Storage; Electric Machines; Power Electronics; Thermal Propulsion Systems; Lightweight Vehicles and Powertrain Structures; Fuel Cell technology.

The Thermal Propulsion System Industry Challenges report delivers insight into areas such as increased efficiency combustion engines for light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles; dedicated and integrated hybrid powertrains; codes and standards supporting net-zero combustion technologies; combustion engines running on net-zero fuels; advanced after-treatment and CO2 capture solutions; and recycling, remanufacturing and the circular economy, including life cycle analysis.

“Automotive innovation is moving at pace, and there is so much to go after, it can often be hard to know where best to focus efforts. Our product and technology roadmaps give a robust forecast of where industry and technology are moving over the next 10 to 15 years. These reports add to that, by identifying what the technology challenges might be within that timeframe and give examples of the industrial and academic research that might get us to market-readiness faster,” says APC Stakeholder Engagement Director Philippa Oldham. 

Commenting on the publication and its significance in laying out the future research challenges for thermal propulsion systems, Professor Chris Brace, IAAPS Academic Director and APC System Efficiency Spoke Director, says:

“It has been a privilege to have contributed to this important APC Industry Challenges Report. The key problems that the research community can help address are clearly laid out. This will help to maintain alignment between university research and the needs of the automotive industry. In doing so we can continue to stimulate important and impactful research on the path to zero.”

“The internal combustion engine has an important role to play in the road towards net zero for a wide range of ‘hard to electrify’ applications. It is uniquely placed to convert a very wide range of truly sustainable fuels into useful work. It is constructed from affordable and plentiful materials which are readily recyclable. However, there are substantial scientific challenges which need to be addressed if we are to get the best out of the ICE in the future. Remaining as we are now is simply not an option.”

Professor Chris Brace, IAAPS Academic Director

This is echoed by IAAPS’ Dr Aaron Costall, APC System Efficiency Spoke Co-Director: “Advanced thermal propulsion systems running on sustainable net-zero fuels will allow us to de-fossilise transportation using mature and well-understood energy converter technology. This is especially important for heavy-duty on-highway and off-road applications where energy density requirements preclude pure battery electric systems, but also applies to light- and medium-duty vehicles, where dedicated hybrids will often be the best approach for minimising CO2 emissions in the shortest possible time.”

He adds: “Indeed, the fastest route to de-fossilisation while minimising total CO2 emissions can be achieved by continuing to enhance the efficiency of thermal propulsion systems, and it is this pathway that the APC identifies in their Industry Challenges 2020-2035+ report. This is an essential document for those working in the automotive field, whether in industry, academia, or government, because it lays down the consensus on the research and technology challenges, across key vehicle applications and along defined time horizons, for commercialising the next generation of ultra-high efficiency thermal propulsion systems.”

The Industry Challenges reports are intrinsically linked to the Automotive Council roadmaps and should be read in conjunction with the corresponding narrative report, to provide added context and rationale behind the challenges presented.

The TPS Industry Challenges report can be found here: Thermal Propulsion Systems Industry Challenges 2020-2035+

Download all six Industry Challenges reports, as well as the corresponding narrative reports, and technology and product roadmaps, here: APC Roadmaps and Industry Challenges reports