The first Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems Centre for Doctoral Training (AAPS CDT) Conference, is taking place on the 12th and 13th of July 2022 here at the University of Bath campus.

This transdisciplinary conference will showcase the great research the AAPS CDT students are undertaking to define the future of clean mobility. The audience will include our rich and vibrant academic and student community, our industrial partners and many more.

This AAPS CDT student organised conference is packed with exciting speakers and activities and will feature guest plenary speakers, industry talks, lightning-style talks, PhD researchers’ presentations, poster sessions and be focussed on the following research themes: 

  • Transportation and Society 
  • Chemical Energy Converters 
  • Digitalisation 
  • Low Carbon Fuels 
  • Propulsion Electrification 
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Registration Information

Registration is now closed for the AAPS 2022 Conference. 


Day One

The first day of the AAPS Annual conference will be focused on research talks on two key research themes, Transportation and Society and Chemical Energy Converters. These talks will be followed by a lightning talk session and poster presentations from AAPS Students. The day will end with with a conference dinner in Bath city centre

Professor Chris Brace and Professor Richard Burke will open the conference

This session will be chaired by: James Angus

Photo of Professor Tim Schwanen

Professor Tim Schwanen

University of Oxford 

Topic: Low carbon mobility and social and Spacial inequality

Title: Just Transitions in Electric Mobility: Challenges, Needs and Possibilities

Abstract: The electrification of urban mobility is now accelerating across large parts of the global North. However, the benefits and costs of electrification remains distributed unevenly, which is why effort must be directed to realising just mobility transitions. In this talk I will explain what just transitions in electric mobility entail and how they might be achieved rapidly. Building on insights from across the social sciences, I will offer a pluralistic understanding of justice in mobility and elaborate how this can inform interventions by governments and other actors that will contribute to greater justice in how cities and societies move towards cleaner and low-carbon mobility.

AAPS Cohort 1 Student

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Interaction between different categories of road user

Title: Beyond the vulnerable road user: an ecological model of road-user vulnerability

Abstract: The need to minimise transport emissions has inspired policies to encourage active travel and micro-mobility. However, achieving widespread adoption is challenging as these road users are at greater risk of injury and death than other modes and report high levels of perceived vulnerability. This vulnerability means that many people avoid using these modes or do not sustain their use long-term. Yet, despite its importance, there is no conceptual framework to explain how road user vulnerability affects behaviour or why it differs across individuals, demographic groups, or environments/situations. This knowledge gap makes designing and evaluating interventions to minimise vulnerability difficult. The objective of this research was to address this knowledge gap by developing a conceptual model of road user vulnerability. We developed an ecological model of vulnerability. This model decomposes vulnerability into state, trait, and environmental components. Here, vulnerability is not a static attribute of the individual. Instead, it is a dynamic construct that emerges from interactions between individuals and their environments. This model provides a framework to analyse the impact of different factors on the expression of vulnerability. This approach has several important benefits for research and practice. It disambiguates different forms of vulnerability, meaning that we can design targeted interventions to address the root causes. It improves the clarity, consistency, and comparability of discussions of vulnerability, differentiating between vulnerabilities that can be addressed at different levels.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Life cycle assessment of current and future passenger transport technologies in the UK

Title: Prospective Life Cycle Assessment for Battery Materials

Abstract: The accelerating transition towards electric vehicles is rapidly increasing the demand for battery materials. However, the complex regionalization of the battery value chain presents great environmental uncertainty surrounding displaced greenhouse gas emissions, ecosystem and human toxicity, and the depletion of critical materials. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies have extensively studied todays' environmental impacts of batteries but there are a shortage of advanced methods to predict the future (prospective) impacts of batteries that address the temporal gap between manufacture and end-of-life, and the changes in regional energy systems throughout the value chain. This talk will introduce prospective LCA methods utilising Python and Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) to address the temporal and spatial elements in predicting the environmental impacts of battery materials.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Psycho(patho)logical predictors of (automotive related) pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours

Title: The 19-Item Environmental Knowledge Test: An Item Response Theory Analysis

Abstract: Environmental knowledge is considered a crucial pre-cursor to pro-environmental behaviour. Though several tools have been designed to measure environmental knowledge, there remains no openly-accessible, standardised and well-validated measure. Using an English-speaking sample, we adapted the Environmental Knowledge Test (EKT; Geiger et al., 2019) and found good one- and three-factor structures in line with previous literature. Importantly, we adopted item response theory to reduce the number of items from 30 to 19, based on the items’ discrimination values. The resulting EKT-19 retained the expected factor structures, with improved reliabilities, indicating that it is a parsimonious and psychometrically robust measure which is suitable for the assessment of both overall and specific types of environmental knowledge.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: A consequential Life Cycle Assessment and decision support model for hydrogen production, storage and distribution to refilling stations for large road vehicles

Title: Review and meta-analysis of recent Life Cycle Assessments of hydrogen production

Abstract: The world is facing an urgent global climate challenge, and hydrogen is increasingly valued as a carbon-free energy carrier that can play a prominent role in decarbonising transport, industry, and heating and cooling buildings. Sixty-one recent Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of hydrogen production are analysed by geography, production method and energy source, and categorised and compared by goal, scope, data sources, impact assessment methodology, and key assumptions, uncertainties and sensitivities. The results show that the lowest global warming potential (GWP) is achieved by methods that are significantly more expensive that the dominant methods of producing hydrogen from fossil fuels. The data are currently limited for comparing other environmental indicators, such as acidification or eutrophication. Areas identified for future research include verification of low overall impact across a broad range of environmental indicators, using data from pilot plants powered by renewable energy, and assessment of the electrolysis of seawater.

This session will be chaired by: Edgar Romero 

Photo of Nick Molden

Emissions Analytics

Topic: Tyre Emissions

Title: Tyre Degradation Particle Measurement and Compound Analysis

Abstract: Tyre wear particles are potentially carcinogenic and it is believed that tyres account for around 40% of microplastics in the ocean. There are two concerns here: the rate of tyre wear and the compound composition of those fragments finding their way into water systems and airways. Our presentation will address tyre wear rate and VOC tyre content based on real-world tyre degradation testing and laboratory-based particle analysis.

AAPS Cohort 1 

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Thermodynamic and kinematic analysis and modelling of the ISOTOPE-X cross-linked opposed-piston free-piston engine

Title: The Effect of Crankshaft Phasing and Port Timing Asymmetry on Opposed-Piston Engine Thermal Efficiency

Abstract: Opposed-piston, two-stroke engines reveal degrees of freedom that make them excellent candidates for next generation, highly efficient internal combustion engines for hybrid electric vehicles and power systems. This article reports simulation results that explore the influence of key control and geometrical parameters, specifically crankshaft phasing and intake and exhaust port height-to-stroke ratios, in obtaining best thermal efficiency. A model of a 0.75 L, single-cylinder opposed-piston two-stroke engine is exercised to predict fuel consumption as engine speed, load, crankshaft phasing, intake and exhaust port height-to-stroke ratios, and stoichiometry are varied for medium-duty truck and range extender applications. Under stoichiometric operation, optimal crankshaft phasing is seen at 0–5 crank angle degrees, lower than reported in the literature. If stoichiometric operation is not mandated, best fuel consumption is achieved at an air-to-fuel equivalence ratio λ = 1.25 and 5–10 degree crankshaft phase angle, enabling a ~10 g/kWh (~4%) improvement in average brake-specific fuel consumption across medium-duty truck operating points. In range extender form, the engine provides 30 kW output power in accordance with a survey of range extender engines. In this role, there is a clear distinction between low-speed, high-load operation and vice versa. The decision as to which is more appropriate would be based on minimizing total owning and operating cost, itself a trade-off between better thermal efficiency (and thus lower fuel cost) and greater durability.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Computational Modelling of Hydrogen Combustion in Internal Combustion Engines

Title: Computation and Modelling of Turbulent Schmidt Number for RANS ICE Hydrogen Direct Injection Applications

Abstract: Hydrogen combustion engine has a potential to become a significant, prime mover, net zero, solution for the transport industry. Accurate performance modelling plays a crucial role in any engine development process. Due to H2 ICE’s ‘novelty’, many modelling aspects must be evaluated and advanced, to ensure that accurate results are obtained reliably, as well as cheaply and in timely fashion. One such crucial aspect is the modelling of mixture preparation, which sets the scene for the following combustion event. Even though many publications have attempted to model this process in the past two decades, none were able to accurately predict the distribution of H2 concentration for direct injection, using RANS CFD techniques. Suspected cause of the disagreement between model and experimental results is the turbulent Schmidt number, which is believed to be poorly assumed. This work explores the effect of the turbulent Schmidt number on the ability of RANS CFD to correctly predict the mixture preparation process.

AAPS Cohort 1 

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Closed cycle water injection for internal combustion engines

Title: Water injection for combustion engines and how to make this technology mass-market proof

Abstract: Future driven technologies are become more relevant than ever before. Political and societal constraints force manufacturers to take huge financial burden on developing pathways to make transport more sustainable. There are electric, hydrogen, hybrid and alternatively propelled vehicles being researched which makes for an exciting technological landscape. This research takes the existing technology of water injection for combustion engines and aims to make it mass market proof. Water injection has been around in sports cars to mainly enhance performance but this technology can bring other significant benefits as well. It reduces not only fuel consumption and CO2 but also significantly improves particulate and other emissions for combustion engines. It does that when being fuelled with gasoline but also leaves the potential open to be fuelled with any other future or current fuel, giving the same benefits with different magnitudes. Up to now, water injection has faced a number of challenges making it not feasible for the mass market scale up and this is where this research takes its direction. Water injection should become available in mass produced vehicles to apply the benefits seen above to the daily use vehicle.

Alistair Barnes

Innovate UK, Innovation Lead for Zero Emission Vehicles

Topic: Transport Decarbonisation

Title: Innovate UK’s outlook on transport decarbonisation


Alistair will discuss Innovate UK’s outlook on decarbonisation of transport, looking at key challenges and opportunities. Alistair will introduce Innovate UK’s ‘Transport Vision 2050’ which sets out the steps we need to take by decade to get to net zero by 2050. This drives Innovate UK’s conversations with industry and government, and helps us design targeted interventions that enable us to achieve small objectives and broader outcomes simultaneously.

Decarbonising Heavy Good Vehicles is one such challenge. There is uncertainty around the technology choices and huge complexity around changing our operations. Alistair will present some of the projects Innovate UK have funded in this area recently, and some of the challenges that remain to be addressed over coming years.

AAPS CDT students will present a series of lightning talks

James Angus - AI approaches to automate Bill of Materials validation

Charlie Gaylard -Beyond Predictive Energy Management

Rob Gray - Carbon fibre electrodes for structural batteries

Patrick Prince - The challenge of exploiting a medium to long term entrepreneurial opportunity in an automotive organization

Rita Prior Filipe - Potential impacts of regional MaaS in air quality

Edgar Romero - Efficient generation of triply periodic minimal surfaces with quadrilateral meshes

Alex Trenam - Structure-preserving numerical methods for modelling charge transport in battery electrolytes

Chan Wanasinghe and Jac McCluskey - Disrupting the existing mobility paradigm with a systems thinking approach

There will be an evening meal held on Tuesday 12th July, at 19:15.

The venue is The Stable.

  • The deadline for pre-ordering has past - we regret that we are unable to add any further orders.

There will be two groups (walking and bus) leaving from the University campus on Tuesday evening after the poster session. The meal is booked for 19:15.

Day Two

The second day of the AAPS conference will focus on presentations of research in the themes of Digitalisation, Low Carbon Fuels and Propulsion Electrification. The day will close with a group project presentation from the AAPS Cohort 3 students on the work they have completed throughout the MRes year as a cohort. 

One of the student committee will welcome attendees to the second day of the conference

This session will be chaired by:  Alex Trenam

Josef Zehetner


Topic: Continuous Validation in the vehicle development process

Title: Virtual Vehicle Validation - The Holy Grail

Abstract: Based on a very brief description of virtual validation the status quo in virtual component, system and vehicle validation is shown in concrete use cases. What is being done today and where are the limits ? The previous topics are quite significantly impacted by the propulsion technology used - pure electric propulsion allows for major steps forward as the topic of combustion and emission can be excluded - the new frontiers are thermal management of the vehicle and of each component. Based on this analysis the next steps ahead and pilot projects are shown and discussed.

AAPS Cohort 1 Student

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Use-case Improved System Identification for Battery Systems

Title: Optimization approach towards system identification using Linear Regression

Abstract: Battery Equivalent Circuit Models such as the AVL MoBat model represent one of the most popular choices for creating virtual depictions of battery systems for online management applications as well as battery system emulation. Nevertheless, the performance of the local linear approximation provided by the model is highly dependent on the precise identification of model parameters, leading to a clear research interest in accurate and effective parametrization procedures.
While linear regression is considered one of the most efficient methods in system identification theory targeting linear systems, in the case of dynamic systems, noise found within the data and unsuitable sampling frequency can substantially degrade its performance. The work presented introduces a novel parametrisation process optimising the data pre-processing routine to effectively balance the stability and accuracy of linear regression. The development of the process was applied to the MoBat model, one of the main elements predefined within the ModelFactory solution showcased by AVL, using both synthetic data as well as experimental data obtained from a Sony VTC6 cell. Results indicate the proposed method can significantly improve the parameter estimation while only generating negligible additional computational overhead.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Machine Learning Algorithms for Freevalve Optimization

Title: Freevalve - How Koenigsegg Automotive are shaping the industry's perception of Internal Combustion Engines

Abstract: In response to ever stricter legislative requirements for automotive exhaust emissions, OEMs have launched a number of different technological strategies, most dominant of which are Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). However, a multiple technology approach is needed to deliver a broad portfolio of products as battery costs and supply constraints are considerable concerns hindering mass uptake of BEVs. Therefore, further investment in Internal Combustion (IC) engine technologies to meet these targets are being considered, such as lean burn gasoline technologies alongside other high efficiency concepts such as dedicated hybrid engines. Hence, it becomes of sound reason to develop complementary technologies to assist in the transition to the next generation hybrid powertrain. One such approach is to provide increased valvetrain flexibility to afford new degrees of freedom in engine operating strategies. This talk will present a promising new valve actuation system concept enabling fully variable control of IC engine valves, developed by Koenigsegg Automotive.


AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Advanced system engineering processes for electrified powertrains

Title: Cyber Physical Systems: Testing Approaches to Ensure Safety and Robustness

Abstract: Cyber Physical Systems represent tightly coupled physical components such as mechanical, hydraulic or electrical with software systems such as sensing, communication and control. These systems are often expected to be safe and robust even in uncertain environments. The safety and design correctness of CPS systems has significant financial and legal implications and due to the enormous number of states these systems can find themselves in rigorous but effective testing is required to ensure the system meets all the requirements and is not harmful to its environment.

This theme will be chaired by: Rob Gray

Newcastle University 

Topic: Hydrogen Energy Storage

Title: Accelerating the Net Zero Transition – the role for hydrogen

Abstract: Hydrogen and alternative liquid fuels have an essential role in the net zero transition, by providing connectivity and flexibility across the energy system. Despite advancements in the field of hydrogen research, both in the physical sciences and engineering, significant barriers remain to the scalable adoption of hydrogen and alternative liquid fuel technologies and energy services, into local and national whole system infrastructure policy. These include technical barriers, organisational barriers, regulatory and societal barriers, and financial barriers. Hydrogen is a highly versatile energy vector suitable for use in many hard-to-decarbonise sectors where other energy vectors, such as electricity, are not suitable. Furthermore, with the increasing use of renewables, which have seasonally variable output, this will require medium- to long-term storage. The UK Government has set out high expectations for the role that hydrogen will play in the future, with demand expected to be between 250 and 460 TWh in 2050, equivalent to 20-35% of UK’s total expected energy consumption in 2050. We support the government with its ambition for hydrogen, but the UK currently only produces around 27 TWh hydrogen each year, the majority of which is grey hydrogen and used as industrial feedstocks. This grey carbon is not low carbon and therefore incompatible with net zero.

AAPS Cohort 1 and 2 Student

PhD Topic:

Title: Structural Batteries and their applications

Abstract: Structural batteries show potential as a new, more energy-efficient form of electrical energy storage on a system level for numerous applications. Recent research has shown that polyacrylonitrile (PAN) based CFs have the potential for structural battery electrodes due to their mechanical capabilities and electrochemical capacities with coated CF a more energy dense alternative. A biphasic Structural Battery Electrolyte (SBE) containing a rigid solid phase and ionically conductive liquid is used to maintain the high structural integrity of the battery, whilst enhancing electrochemical performance. These lightweight composites will offer a more energy-dense alternative to regular batteries.

AAPS Cohort 1 Student

Biography Page

PhD Topic: New Materials for Automotive Tribo-chemistry

Title: Development of Novel Precursors for Lubricious Metal Oxide Coatings in ICEs

Abstract: Current additives such as zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP) and molybdenum dithiocarbamate (MoDTC) have been utilised as anti-wear and friction-reducing agents in lubricants for over 80 years. Despite their unquestionable success during this time, the resulting by-products of combustion have been known to damage catalytic convertors forming metallic ash and sulfurous/phosphorus oxide layers over the active sites of the catalyst inhibiting the performance. This has led to several governing bodies restricting the amount of sulfur and phosphorus within engine oil. Our work has focused on developing novel precursors which decompose in-situ to form metal oxides. Certain metal oxides possess lamellar properties due to the weak intermolecular forces present between the layers which allow them to slide over one another and act as a lubricious layer. We have designed and synthesised a series of multifunctional precursor systems which can act as both a delivery molecule for the and also contribute to reducing friction within the ICE. The precursors have been analysed using conventional characterisation techniques and their properties have been examined for their use within the ICE.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Crude Sulfate Turpentine as a new source of biorenewable fuel

Title: Introduction to the Biorefinery Concept

Abstract: In the coming decades, the global population is expected to increase and with that will come a greater demand for energy and food security. The continued use of non-renewable fossil oil for materials and fuels which has a substantial negative environmental impact, from global warming from greenhouse gas emissions to pollution, is not a viable option. Bioenergy is a low-carbon emitting form of renewable energy that involves the use of biomass to provide heat, fuels, power, and materials. Though production of biofuels alone from non-food feedstocks (such as woody biomass and non-edible crops) is not cost efficient, the integrated biorefinery converts biomass into various value-added bioproducts such as fuels, polymers, and chemicals. The process is analogous to modern petroleum refineries and could contribute to a circular bioeconomy where waste valorisation is key to boosting ecological and economic performance. This presentation will provide an overall introduction to the biorefinery concept, including discussions on the techno-economics and valorisation of bioproducts.

This theme will be chaired by: Edgar Romero

Electrical Engineering, University of Bath

Topic: Superconductors

Title: Zero emission for sustainable transport through superconductivity

Abstract: The Advisory Council for Aeronautical Research in Europe (ACARE) Flightpath 2050 has set an ambitious target for the aviation industry to reduce the environmental impacts of air travel. Flightpath 2050 aims to achieve a 75% cut in CO2 emission, 90% cut in NOx emission and 65% reduction in noise relative to the 2000 standards. Electrification of aviation will play a key role in delivering these emission and noise reduction targets. A current game-changing concept is hydrogen-powered electric aircraft. Airbus aims to develop the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035 and has initiated the Advanced Superconducting and Cryogenic Experimental powertraiN Demonstrator (ASCEND). A reliable high-power density and high efficiency superconducting DC distribution network will be a key enabling and transformative technology to achieve hydrogen-powered electric aircraft. Safety and reliability are the primary requirements for electric propulsion aircraft. The fault management in cryogenic and superconducting DC distribution network is much more challenging than for AC networks because of the much higher rate of rise of the fault current and also there is no natural zero-crossing of the current to aid fault isolation. This talk will introduce the cryogenic and superconducting DC distribution network and its fault management.


AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Thermal Modelling of Electric Machines

Title: Implementing Memory into Machine Learning Models

Abstract: This talk will highlight the key developments and challenges in predicting dynamic temporal data, such as the temperatures of components, or prices in the stock market. Specifically, this will cover how we can implement 'memory' into machine learning models from linear regression to deep neural networks.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Understanding the influence of battery current ripple

Title: Pulse Charging

Abstract: For both charging and discharging, a pulse approach has been shown to improve both thermal properties and round trip efficiencies for Lithium-ion cells. This approach is not widely known about in engineers outside the battery community and yet is the basis of one of the most well known car companies charging strategy: Tesla's Supercharging network.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Bi-directional high power density on-board charger using WBG devices

Title: Modularised Energy Storage for Automotive Applications

Abstract: Vehicle electrification is a major shift in industry bringing a wealth of opportunities. Standard topology EV Powertrains are based on a two level inverter fed by a large single battery pack. Separate onboard charger, DC-DC converter and battery management systems are needed to complete the Power Electronics package. Multilevel Inverters are slowly entering the market as higher battery voltages make for difficulties in integration of expensive components. While integration of power electronics with the motor is under active research, it can also be integrated away from the motor in a potentially less harsh environment within the battery pack. Modular Multilevel Converters have the potential to allow for modular battery pack and power electronics design. As cost and efficiency continue to be the biggest challenges facing vehicle manufacturers today and for the foreseeable future, this presentation will showcase some of the initial research results obtained in the design of a modularised energy storage system for a heavy duty vehicle application.

AAPS Cohort 1

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Solid Oxide Fuel Cell for Small/Medium Aerospace Applications

Title: Powering greener aerospace propulsion with waste heat: an energetic analysis.

Abstract: Ever increasing environmental concerns require new and clean energy supplies in the aerospace sector. Hydrogen and ammonia are energy vectors ensuring environmental cleanliness, and maximum utilisation of renewable energy sources. Another copious energy source is heat: a waste product difficult to capture, store, and transport. A Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) runs at high temperatures (800-1000 °C) compared to its surrounding environment, allowing for large thermal gradients: a possible source of such energy. A thermo-electric generator (TEG) could turn heat into a flow of current, increasing the overall system efficiency. Different fuel cell propulsion layouts including TEGs are analysed at typical aircraft operating conditions to understand their overall efficiencies. A theoretical analysis shows that efficiencies of these systems can increase by recovering and converting waste heat.

Alex Trenam will officially close the first annual AAPS Conference 


The conference will be hosted at the University of Bath, in the Wolfson Lecture Theatre (4 West 1.7)

The address is:

4 West, Level 1 University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY

See the University guide for how to get to the city of Bath and the University campus.

You can find the lecture theatre on this campus map under 4W.


Our Sponsors

We are currently looking for sponsorship for our conference. Please get in touch with one of the student organisers if you would be interested in supporting this conference. 

Student Posters

We will have a selection of AAPS CDT students also presenting posters. These will be on display in the atrium during the conference, and they will also be available here on our website. 

© Copyright 2021 AAPS CDT, Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems at the University of Bath