ARPA-E awards U-M $1.9M to develop advanced low-cost high-efficiency engine; boosting, highly dilute combustion and 48V system
1 December 2015
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) will award approximately $1.9 million to a project to develop a high-efficiency engine system that integrates a compact micro-hybrid configuration of a supercharger with an electric waste heat recovery system and employs high rates of recirculated exhaust gases.
When combined with a sophisticated control strategy, this approach provides a solution for suboptimal engine breathing that is typical of transient engine operation. The performance is projected to match that of a naturally aspirated engine and have a 20% increase in fuel efficiency compared to a turbocharged downsized engine, at a cost that is half that of a mild-hybrid system.
The project—Split Micro-hybrid Boosting Enabling Highly Diluted Combustion—is headed by Anna G. Stefanopoulou, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, ASME Fellow and director of the U-M Automotive Research Center.
Modern engines are becoming smaller and smaller with high levels of dilution for efficiency. But the lack of extra muscle makes them slower to respond than their bigger counterparts. If we improve the responsiveness of small engines, then we can push for more efficient cars at low cost.—Anna Stefanopoulou
To get small and diluted combustion engines to perform more like their larger cousins, Stefanopoulou has plans to help them breathe faster. An engine’s response depends on its ability to take in fresh air and convert it to power.
Her method will augment traditional turbocharging to provide frugal yet instant air flow control while utilizing stored energy from regenerative braking and exhaust energy in a small 48V battery shared with start-stop functionality.
The award was one of 41 announced by US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz under ARPA-E’s OPEN 2015 program for a total of $125 million in awards. (earlier post) Open solicitations—also issued in 2009 and 2012—serve as an open call to scientists and engineers for transformational technologies across the entire scope of ARPA-E’s energy mission.