Academics at Brighton University have teamed up with an engineering company called Libertine to create greener and more efficient engines for lorries and dual-power vehicles.
Their hopes of revolutionising engine technology will be discussed at a specialist two-day forum at the university’s Moulsecoomb campus next Monday (7 September) and Tuesday (8 September).
They have set up at a test rig which will be on show at the university’s Centre for Automotive Engineering in the Sir Harry Ricardo Laboratories.
And experts from around the world are expected to compare notes at the event – Linear Power 2015 – where free piston technology will be discussed.
The university said that those at the forum would “debate how free piston linear power systems could transform how electrical power is generated, how vehicles are powered, and how heating and cooling are provided”.
The Brighton team, led by Rob Morgan, are working with Libertine to develop what they expect will be the first commercially viable exhaust heat recovery system for lorries.
The joint heat recovery project is part-funded by the government through Innovate UK. It uses a pair of Libertine’s linear free-piston expanders to convert waste exhaust heat into electrical power.
Dr Morgan, reader in the university’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, said: “The free piston system offers efficiency and cost benefits over conventional turbine and screw expanders, thereby increasing market uptake of the technology in the commercial vehicle market and reducing CO2 emissions.
“The potential reduction in CO2 emissions from successful commercialisation of the technology would benefit the road haulage industry through reduced operating costs and society as a whole in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
The project is scheduled to complete its first test programme by the end of this year.
Libertine chief executive Sam Cockerill said: “The rapid pace of development in these areas is overcoming the obstacles that have held back progress for several decades, which makes the timing of Linear Power 2015 even more appropriate.”