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Low Carbon Vehicles

13 October 2010

Exhaust

A new combustion technology that could allow vehicles to become more efficient and less polluting is being explored by the newly established Cardiff Catalysis Institute at the University.

Professor Stan Golunski, Deputy Director of the Institute, in collaboration with engineers at Brunel and Birmingham Universities is investigating the feasibility of an on-board fuel reforming system to improve combustion and recover waste heat. The system will be based on the incorporation of a catalytic reactor in the exhaust to produce gas mixtures rich in nitrogen and hydrogen that can be fed back to the engine.

The team will study how the addition of these mixtures affects engine combustion, performance and emissions with the Institute identifying stable catalysts that will perform the reforming reaction. Initially the research will focus on diesel engines but the potential of fuel reforming to achieve benefits in gasoline engines will also be evaluated.

"The technology that we are developing with our colleagues at Brunel and Birmingham has the potential to recover waste heat, and therefore improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions," said Professor Golunski.

It is hoped that the results from the study will lead to new advances in engine design which can be used in conjunction with other technologies currently used to improve CO2 emissions, such as weight reduction of vehicles, start-stop fuelling, and the switch to hybrid and diesel cars.