Collaborative research to be presented on bus thermal energy recovery

Collaborative research to be presented on bus thermal energy recovery
21 August 2013

Wrightbus is to showcase the results of research carried out with Ricardo and other partners on the Thermal Energy Recovery Systems (TERS) project at the forthcoming Low Carbon Vehicle event at Millbrook, UK, in September.

A Gemini 2 Hybrid Electric Vehicle from The Wright GroupThe TERS project – which is a UK consortium led by Wrightbus and including Queen’s University Belfast, Revolve Technologies and Ricardo – has been carrying out research in a complex project, which aims to further reduce power consumption and CO2 emissions in hybrid diesel-electric buses.

The Wrightbus Gemini 2 Double Deck bus on display at the forthcoming LCV event at Millbrook on 4th – 5th September is in effect a mobile laboratory, fitted with a Waste Heat Recovery system which captures and converts energy in the form of waste heat from the engine exhaust and coolant.

The vehicle, which has kindly be provided to the consortium by FirstGroup PLC for the duration of the project,  will stay on at Millbrook after the exhibition to complete SORT 1-3 cycles (Standardised On-Road Testing Cycling), benchmarking performance against baseline SORT tests carried out earlier on the same vehicle before the Waste Heat Recovery system was fitted.

The TERS project has sought to utilise market-leading technology to research, design and integrate pioneering thermal managing concepts into hybrid diesel-electric buses. The initial project aim was to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions by 10 per cent through the use of waste heat recovery systems while, further improving fuel consumption.

Heat lost in the exhaust of a modern diesel engine can represent up to 40 percent of the available chemical energy content of the fuel used by the vehicle. The TERS project therefore has focused on capturing this heat energy that would normally be wasted and converting it into useful power. The challenges are huge but the potential for fuel economy improvement is also significant.

As well as progressing important research work, the project has also created four new jobs at Queen’s University Belfast – three postgraduate and one post-doctoral position. All four graduates have been mentored throughout the development by University staff. In addition, six existing Wrightbus employees have also been heavily involved in the complex scheme, along with engineers and technical specialists from Revolve Technologies and Ricardo.

Partial funding for this important work has come from the Technology Strategy Board, which is in turn sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

“This project has been on-going since 2011, with a good deal of work undertaken to date to develop and refine the system that we have on board today” said Wrightbus Project Manager Alister Hanna. “Initial testing has delivered some very encouraging results already, both in terms of fuel economy and CO2 emissions. The SORT cycle tests at Millbrook in September are the next phase in the project – when we have the results in, we will be looking at the potential for introducing some of the technologies that we and our partners have developed in the project into future production vehicles and potential off road applications.”

Visitors to the LCV show will have the opportunity to get on board the vehicle and see a live demonstration of the test system in operation, as well as to meet representatives from all four partners in the project.


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A full copy of this press release, together with a leaflet describing the TERS project, are available from the link at the top right of this page.