Indrek joined the AAPS CDT, having recently graduated from his BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering with first-class Honours in 2022 at the University of Greenwich. During his time of studies, Indrek acquired a keen interest in computer-aided modelling, working on CAD, FEA and CFD-based projects. During the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, he embarked on a self-guided educational project, learning the fundamentals of Python programming, which carried through to his final year thesis, where he used Python scripts to automate the modelling and FEA process of carbon fibre composites. He discovered that his modelling methods optimised the fibre-composite development process, and, as a result, intends to publish his research for further development into a fully dynamic modelling package.
From an early age, Indrek has had a passion for anything with a combustion engine, working on his car and dirt/street bikes. This led him to study engineering and join the AAPS programme, to combine his passion for cars and motorcycles with his interest in computational modelling, through pursuing a PhD project with an automotive partner, tackling the current climate crisis and developing sustainable propulsion systems for the future. He also works as a part-time design engineer for Ribcraft to gain industrial experience while refining and maintaining his modelling and problem-solving skills.
Indrek's research project aims to explore the potential of methanol as an internal combustion engine fuel, capitalizing on its distinct properties to achieve a dual objective of reduced emissions and enhanced efficiency/performance, particularly in the context of marine applications. The project will be undertaken in two stages:
Stage 1: Experimental Conversion and Testing
Taking a 1-cylinder petrol engine, conducting rigorous testing, and subsequently converting it to operate on methanol. This conversion is expected to leverage the specific properties of methanol to boost engine efficiency and concurrently mitigate emissions.
Stage 2: Development and Assessment of Specialized Methanol Combustion Engine
Building upon the insights and expertise garnered during the initial phase, to design of a specialized methanol combustion engine. The ultimate goal is to evaluate whether the additional time and resources invested in developing a new engine, optimized for methanol's unique characteristics, yield superior advantages compared to retrofitting a petrol engine for methanol use.
Indrek's research not only investigates how methanol can work in current engines but also looks into creating entirely new engines tailored for methanol use. The ultimate objective is to understand how methanol’s properties can improve efficiency and cut emissions in marine propulsion, which aligns with the UK's net-zero targets by 2050. Initially focusing on smaller vessels will lay the groundwork before potentially scaling up to larger marine applications. The project also emphasizes creating and testing simulation models to explore different engine concepts and their optimization capabilities based on actual experimental data and detailed computer simulations.