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Research in the Thermal Propulsion Systems Group, Department of Engineering Science University of Oxford - Thermal Propulsion Systems; Ultra-Efficient Engines and Fuels

Ultra-Efficient Engines and Fuels

The Ultra-Efficient Engines and Fuels program was a  collaborative project, funded by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) that aimed to provide a step-change in engine efficiency through the co-development of novel combustion systems and matched fuels from sustainable sources.

The Oxford group's contribution to the program was focussed on delivering fundamental scientific data on fuel spray behaviour and the auto-ignition characteristics of new fuels under the extreme in-cylinder conditions that characterise many of the novel combustion concepts being developed by our project partners.


A key element of our program, and a potentially significant legacy of the Ultra funding, was the development of new facilities and optical diagnostic techniques. In June 2017 we commissioned a dedicated cold-driven shock tube capable of proving controlled pressures and temperatures up to 150 bar and 1500 K for fuel spray and auto-ignition studies. Also, in a world first, we built a portable system for Laser Induced Thermal Grating Spectroscopy (LITGS), and have applied the system to measure in-situ gas temperatures in a collaborator's test facility. We also demonstrated, in another world first, high-speed LITGS, showing the measurement techniques potential for high-presicion temperature measurements in transient phenomena. A commercialisation agreement for the portable LITGS system was signed with a leading supplier of laser diagnostic equipment and the system is expected to be commercially available very shortly.


Principal Investigator:

Professor Martin Davy


Professor Richard Stone, Professor Paul Ewart (Oxford Physics), Dr. Matt McGilvray

Funding and Support: