The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has awarded £35m of government funding to three UK-based innovative low carbon powertrain projects, looking to revolutionise the automotive industry.
The technologies developed will support the UK in zero emissions technology as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy and recently published ‘Road to Zero’ plans.
The powertrain projects are hoping to enhance the UK’s supply chain and competitiveness in the development of ultra-low emission vehicles.
The project consortiums are made up of several leading companies, including: hofer powertrain, Aston Martin, Ceres Power, Nissan, Artemis Intelligent Power, Danfoss, and Robbie Fluid Engineering..
The Manufacturer spoke to managing director of Artemis Intelligent Power, Niall Caldwell, to talk about the company’s low carbon project.
Caldwell said: “This project is to support the development of products for the off-highway equipment market, which will save energy, CO2, and it should also make a positive business case to the end consumers simply by saving fuel and therefore money.”
Artemis will collaborate with global manufacturer Danfoss – one of the world’s largest suppliers of hydraulic equipment to the off-road market – and Scottish firm Robbie Fluid Engineering.
Artemis Intelligent Power digital hydraulic pump mechanism
The project aims to introduce a disruptive digital technology to the off-highway vehicle sector – an example of this being excavators – which could, as Caldwell explained, reinvent hydraulic power.
The company’s digital displacement pump technology replaces an analogue pump mechanism with a fully digital principle, in which cylinders of a radial machine are individually controlled with digital solenoid valves; resulting in every cycle initiated by a digital controller.
It reportedly has the potential to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of some off-highway vehicles by more than 50% when fully developed, and will help anchor future R&D and manufacturing capability in Scotland.
An example highlighted by Caldwell would be the emissions reduction from one digital displacement excavator, which would be the equivalent of taking 18 diesel family cars off the road.
Caldwell said: “Low carbon products are going to be increasingly important, but the main point is how do we bridge the gap between what is technically possible and what a business will accept.”
He explained technologies that will work are the ones that are “absolutely required for legislative compliance”, for example emission controls on diesel engines, or those which make a positive business case without requiring government subsidy.
Caldwell added: “In the off-highway equipment market there are no mechanisms to subsidise the sale of low carbon technology like there is for cars, therefore any equipment has to make its own business case. That is a big challenge.”
The two other projects receiving funding are, battery electric vehicle provider Ceres Power, which plans to develop a compact, high-power density, solid oxide fuel cell specifically designed to extend the range of electric light commercial vehicles.
The other is hofer powertrain, who, along with Aston Martin, is developing a new generation of technically-advanced e-axle transmissions, e-motor and inverter modules, which will be manufactured in the UK, for future high-performance vehicles.