A consortium, led by Dearman, the clean cold and power technology company, has been awarded £6 million (US$7.9 million) by the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre to develop zero-emission Dearman Engine technology (earlier post) and applications, helping to move it into manufacturing and full commercial deployment. The Dearman Engine can deliver significant improvements to the fuel efficiency of HGVs and buses, helping to significantly reduce emissions of NOx, particulate matter and CO2.
The project brings together Dearman, Hubbard Products, Air Products, Productiv, Wessington Cryogenics and Loughborough University, who will each bring their own expertise to the development, manufacturing and commercialization of the technology. Government funding will be matched by the consortium, bringing the total investment in the zero emission technology to £15.5 million.
The Dearman Engine operates by the vaporization and expansion of cryogenic fluids—specifically, liquid nitrogen. Ambient or low grade waste heat is used as an energy source with the cryogen providing both the working fluid and heat sink. The Dearman Engine process involves the heat being introduced to the cryogenic fluid through direct contact heat exchange with a heat exchange fluid (HEF) inside the engine.
|Prototype of the Dearman Engine. Click to enlarge.|
Liquid nitrogen expands 710 times between liquid and gas phases and this expansion is used to drive the pistons of an engine. Dearman engines operate like high-pressure steam engines, but the low boiling temperature of liquid nitrogen means that low-grade or ambient heat can be used as a heat source, eliminating the need for a traditional fuel.
The Dearman Engine can be used to produce clean cold and power for a range of applications across transport, logistics and the built environment.
The most advanced application of Dearman technology is as a zero emission transport refrigeration system designed and developed in conjunction with Hubbard Products as a sustainable alternative to the diesel driven units that conventionally keep refrigerated trucks cold. The system is currently on trial with Sainsbury’s, delivering food across London, where it is already having a positive impact on air quality. (Earlier post.)
With support from the APC, the technology will be developed to support further applications, including to an air conditioning and auxiliary power system for buses, which in hot climates can consume more than a third of a bus’ diesel fuel.
Applications of Dearman Engine technology can have a significant impact on the environment. For example, diesel powered transport refrigeration units are lightly regulated and as a result replacing an auxiliary unit with a zero emission alternative can reduce the total engine emissions of NOx from the entire refrigerated vehicle by more than 70%.
The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) was formed in 2013 from a commitment between the government and automotive industry through the Automotive Council to position the UK as a global center of excellence for low carbon powertrain development and production. It is a central pillar of the Industrial Strategy created by the Automotive Council.