Novel powertrain technology could hold answer to boosting energy savings

This technology promises to create jobs, save energy, increase profitability, reduce our energy dependency and decrease fuel poverty.

Shortlisted in the 2degrees Champions Awards 2015

The background

VeriVert is a development programme for a novel energy technology which makes existing and new HVAC systems more efficient.

The technology is applicable to a sustainable city and the built environment. The technology readiness level is at TRL5 with an expectation of it being market ready in 12-18 months.

Buildings consume 80% of major cities energy with 50% of that coming from residential properties.

The problems are threefold. Firstly, the increased energy demand fuels price increases in gas and electricity. Secondly, the generation of energy is supplied from fossil fuels which harm the environment and thirdly is the malaise created by industry to embrace new technologies.

The issues don’t stop there though:

  • Energy prices have quadrupled*
  • Energy supply threat*
  • 3m UK homes suffer from fuel poverty*

Our ambition is to create a sustainable built environment through innovation reducing CO2 levels.

*London Mayor's Office

What did we do

The Turbo-discharging innovation has increased torque, improved fuel economy and improved engine breathing for internal combustion engines.

Engine power density has been increased; weight, friction losses and gas exchange pumping work have been reduced. Hence, turbo-Discharging is most beneficial to HVAC internal combustion engines with fuel economy benefits of ~ 4-8%.*

The concept has been applied to a Ford Zetec 1.4 litre naturally aspirated engine. It delivered exhaust manifold pressures as much as 30 kPa below atmospheric pressure and torque increases of up to 7% across the engine speed range.

We reduced the turbine outlet pressure meaning that the turbine can recover significantly more energy than with a conventional turbo-charging or turbo-compounding system.

With significant reductions of in-cylinder hot residuals we have contributed to the efficiency limiting engine knock boundary, translating the low pressure into the cylinder which resulted in increased power for a given amount of fuel.

*Mott MacDonald

The result

The development of the technology has multiple impacts. Firstly it has employed engineers and with rollout it will create over 500 jobs. Secondly it will have a social impact as households will need less energy. Thirdly, the technology will help meet Horizon 2020 targets for carbon reduction in commercial buildings.

The personal pitch

Most innovation in the energy industry is purely to maximise profit margins. Few have a socio-economic effect at both the macro and micro level. This technology will create jobs; save energy; increase profitability; reduce our energy dependency from Russia and decrease fuel poverty.

Suppliers, contractors and solutions providers used

  • EPSRC
  • Royal Academy of Engineers
  • Caterpillar
  • The Wolfson Institute

Links to relevant supporting materials

1) Overview of Turbo-discharging technology 2) Initial work

This article forms AltEnergis' submission into the Innovation of the Year category of the 2degrees Champions Awards 2015. It was written and submitted by Gregory Day, chief technology Officer of AltEnergis Plc.

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