Alex Trenam at a chalkboard

Application of Mathematics

Theme Lead: Chris Budd
Co-Theme Lead: Tristan Pryer

The mathematics theme brings cutting edge techniques in mathematical modelling, statistics, and scientific computing both to gain insights into all aspects of automotive propulsion and its impact on people and the environment, and to support the design and operation of advanced propulsion systems. The theme combines research areas including differential equations, probability, data analysis, machine learning, dynamical systems, fluid mechanics and numerical analysis, all of which are needed to understand the complexities of propulsion.

Patrick Prince using a whiteboard

Business and Management

Theme Lead: Peter Mott
Co-Theme Lead: Vaggelis Giannikas

In addition to the technology, societal and governmental challenges posed by the pathway to net zero mobility, there are a number of significant business and management challenges that organisations will face in order to successfully integrate the range of complex stakeholder requirements and technologies into a product and service offering. 

These challenges include the way that companies across the value chain will need to adopt new business models, re-organise or adapt business processes to successfully create and capture value in a net zero future.

The types of specific questions to be addressed might include “What future product and technology development processes are needed to effectively address the changing requirements and new technologies to achieve net zero?” or “How do companies need to mobilise their organisations for delivery of net zero including decision making, organisations, capabilities and governance?”.

Eli Schettino working in the lab

Chemical Energy Converters

Theme Lead: Tom Fletcher

We stand at the beginning of the electrified transport era. The end of the internal combustion engine has been widely publicized. And yet, of the 15 million passenger cars produced in the EU in 2019, the vast majority (~90%, in fact) still used pure gasoline or diesel engines. These will remain on the road for a very long time, with an average lifespan of 21.8 years. Cars produced in the EU in just a single year (2019) will be responsible for emitting ~370 million tonnes of CO2 over their lifetimes. The point is this: anything we can do today to improve engine efficiency will have an impact on reducing CO2 emissions for decades to come, while we transition to an electrified fleet. But even then, pure battery electric propulsion will not meet the demands of heavy-duty on-highway vehicles and off-road machines. Accelerating towards our goal of net zero carbon emissions requires development of a suite of chemical energy converters, ranging from ultra-efficient combustion engines, running on renewable fuels, to fuel cell technologies. Together, IAAPS and the students in the CDT in Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems have the opportunity and responsibility to ensure this is achieved.

Immanuel Vinke and Edgar Romero working in the IAAPS control room

Computer Sciences

Theme Lead: Xi Chen

All complex machines, such as cars, are now both designed with and controlled by computers. With artificial intelligence we have the possibility of enhancing both, but it's not always clear how to do so in a safe and rigorous way that fully supports a designer or users objectives. While this theme has an AI focus it extends to all of the interactions between computers, machines and humans.

Charlie Gaylard and others working with electronic cars

Digital Systems, Optimisation and Integration

Theme Lead: Sam Akehurst
Co-Theme Lead: Nic Zhang

This theme covers research in to improving the accuracy and robustness of virtualisation methods in propulsion system development . The improved processes and software developed will allow more optimised powertrains to be developed in a shorter and cheaper development cycle.

Gas Purification

Theme Lead: Semali Perera
Co-Theme Lead: Antonio Exposito

The Gas Purification theme focuses on technologies for emission reduction in transportation, such as separation technologies, catalytic processes for combustion engines, or air cleaning processes. The development of technologies in those areas will improve air quality and reduce contamination.

Ciaran Llewelyn working in a Chemistry lab

Low Carbon Fuels

Theme Lead: Tim Mays

Research in this theme focuses on low carbon fuels for the automotive sector. The UK’s commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 20250 and the associated need to de-carbonise automotive fuels means that low carbon alternatives to diesel and gasoline (and kerosine) from fossil oil must be sought and delivered. These alternatives range from synthetic hydrocarbons from biomass and CO2 capture and utilisation to sustainable hydrogen from water electrolysis using renewable power. Applications of interest not only include light-duty road vehicles but also heavy-duty vehicles (on- and off-road), buses, trains, marine and aerospace.

Howard Richards looking at a battery

Propulsion Electrification

Theme Lead: Xiaoze Pei
Co-Theme Lead: Chris Vagg

Propulsion Electrification covers research into electric powertrain technologies: batteries, semiconductions and converters, and electric motors. We work at all stages of the life cycle, from their design and development, manufacture, control and use, through to end-of-life. We are interested in component level research as well as interactions between them and with the rest of the vehicle system, integration, control and thermal management.

Paloma Rodriguez Santana working with a Glovebox

Sustainability and Low Carbon Transition

Theme Lead: Rick Lupton

To make mobility sustainable we need to understand how transport is and could be used; what the impacts are of producing the system and how various use scenarios vary impact. This will vary over time and depending on where we are in the world. I/this theme uses tools such as life cycle assessment to help us work out where the impacts are, how we minimise them as well as understanding how mobility can interact with the wider energy system.

Transport, Behaviour and Society

Theme Lead: Lorraine Whitmarsh
Co-Theme Lead: Alexandra Voinescu

This theme considers the full range of influences on people’s travel behaviours, and in turn, how travel behaviour has wider social consequences.

There are individual-level processes at work in a vehicle’s operator. This might include information processing, attention, personality or risk taking. Much of the work in this area is applied cognitive psychology or ergonomics.

However, there are many factors that influence those individual-level processes.  The way people travel is shaped by society, and it affects society. The physical world around us might encourage us to drive by building roads that prioritise motor traffic over other modes; but when people do drive, this places burdens on other people through pollution, congestion and road danger. This theme takes a holistic approach to understanding the travel behaviour of individuals and explores how to shape this in more sustainable directions.

Lucia Burtnik at ITT smiling.

Transport Policy & Economics

Theme Lead: Charles Larkin

This theme examines the evolution of transport policies and their impacts in transport markets with a special focus on how transport policy can respond to the requirements of climate change and deliver on SDG 11 (Sustainable Communities and Cities). It examines the history, rationale and mechanisms for intervention by governments in transport. The techniques of evaluation of externalities and government intervention are examined. Theories of contestable markets and regulatory capture are also covered. The nature of infrastructure is examined, as are the problems of pricing and investment. The theme examines applications in the areas of urban transport, the railways, roads, bus, truck, shipping, ports and aviation looking at the record of government intervention in transport markets; market failures in transport; transport project appraisal techniques; the impact of deregulation and the application of the theory of contestable markets; case studies - the British railway system, the bus industry, the freight market, road infrastructure, aviation, ports and shipping.

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