Brunel University London

Vulcanaer: Air Hybrid for Diesel Engines

Posted by Brunel University LondonResponsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · United Kingdom

Summary of the technology

Vulcanaer is a novel regenerative hybrid engine system for diesel transport systems, particularly urban busses and delivery trucks. It converts a vehicle engine into an air pump during decelerations. It harvests the braking energy and stores it as compressed air for subsequent use to restart the engine in stop/start operation, saving battery and starter motor life. It also saves fuel as the compressed air also assists the normal engine-driven air compressor. Furthermore it can enhance the turbo thus reducing black smoke during acceleration from stationary

Brunel University London
Brunel University London

Description of the technology

Background

While the all-electric transport revolution is awaited Vulcanaer will enable existing bus and truck diesel vehicle fleets to meet emerging civic requirements for cleaner air in cities - and provide cost savings at the same time. 

In urban transport systems there is a significant waste of energy due to frequent acceleration and deceleration. There is an opportunity to modify existing diesel engines to harvest the energy ‘wasted’ through deceleration thereby reducing CO2 and NOx emissions and saving on fuel costs.

In busy urban areas, where there is a requirement for buses to turn off their engines when stopped to reduce emissions from idling, there are issues with the need to then restart the engine. This uses the battery and an electrical starter both of which wear out quickly resulting in broken down buses requiring expensive replacements. Vulcanaer provides a solution to this problem with the added benefits of additional cost savings on fuel.

Technology Overview

Vulcanaer is a novel regenerative hybrid engine system that converts the vehicle engine into an air pump during decelerations. It harvests the braking energy and stores it as compressed air for subsequent use to restart the engine in stop/start operation, saving battery and starter motor life. It also saves fuel as the compressed air also assists the normal engine-driven air compressor. Furthermore it can enhance the turbo thus reducing black smoke during acceleration from stationary.

First generation system trials on a Yuchai bus in China showed fuel savings of 5% to 9% on an urban bus operating cycle. A second generation retrofit system has been demonstrated to be feasible on a 9.6L bus engine in the UK with no adverse effect on driveability. 

Vulcanaer is protected by a family of patents with granted cases in multiple countries.

Benefits

  • The technology enables both reduction in CO2 and NOx emissions and fuel savings.
  • The mechanical system is simple and fail‑safe.
  • Suitable for retrofit with conversion taking less than a day without the need to remove the engine.
  • Low cost (typically £4k) providing fleet operators with payback in less than 2 years.
  • Also suitable for original equipment manufacturers. 

Current development status

Working prototypes

Working prototypes

Intellectual property status

Granted Patent

Patent number : US8584644, EP2245281, CN101970827

Where : US, EP, CN

Granted Patent

Patent number : CN100545425

Where : China

Granted Patent

Patent number : EP2616652, US9032912, CN103201479

Where : Europe, US, China

Desired business relationship

Technology selling

Patent licensing

Joint ventures

Technology development

Technology Owner

Brunel University London

Technology Transfer Office

Related keywords

  • Industrial manufacturing, Material and Transport Technologies
  • Transport and Shipping Technologies
  • Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
  • Road Vehicles
  • Automotive engineering
  • Industrial Technologies
  • Clean Industrial Technologies
  • Apparatus Engineering
  • Energy Technology
  • Energy Storage and Transport
  • Protecting Man and Environment
  • Environment
  • Environmental Engineering / Technology
  • Clean Production / Green Technologies
  • Outoor Air Pollution/Treatment
  • Smart City
  • Energy for Transport
  • Motor vehicles, transportation equipment and parts
  • urban

About Brunel University London

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