National science facility sheds light on the future of the car

The iCAR 2013 automotive conference

On November 18th and 19th scientific researchers and leading professionals from the automotive, oil and petrochemical industries came together for a conference at Diamond.  The event focused on the future of world transport, discussing the challenges faced by the industry and highlighting the cutting edge science which is already providing insights and solutions to address the obstacles to greener transportation and future energy production.

 
A two day science conference, iCAR 2013: Illuminating Challenges in Automotive Research 2013 was hosted at Diamond in partnership with Infineum, a world-class formulator, manufacturer and marketer of petroleum additives.  Over 20 speakers from both business and research backgrounds gave a global and industry-wide perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing the automotive industry. The 100 attendees heard presentations on subjects as diverse as how catalysts can reduce polluting compounds from exhaust gases, new materials for automotive manufacturing, hydrogen powered vehicles, and how synchrotron research is facilitating greater understanding of these developments.
 
iCAR Event organisers in the I12, Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing (JEEP) beamline at Diamond. From left to right Peter Hutchins - Infineum, Xavier le Mintier CEO of Infineum, Claire Pizzey – from the industrial liaison team at Diamond, Ken Lewtas - Infineum, Elizabeth Shotton, Head of Industrial liaison at Diamond.
iCAR Event organisers in the I12, Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing (JEEP) beamline at Diamond. From left to right Peter Hutchins - Infineum, Xavier le Mintier CEO of Infineum, Claire Pizzey – from the industrial liaison team at Diamond, Ken Lewtas - Infineum, Elizabeth Shotton, Head of Industrial liaison at Diamond.

During the ICAR meeting, Nikolaos Baimpas, doctoral student in the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford was presented with the inaugural Infineum-Diamond prize for Innovative Automotive Research using Synchrotron Light.

 
Nikolaos' project is supervised by Professor Alexander Korsunsky and funded under the EPSRC "Next Generation Facility Users" scheme. His experiment was carried out in the External Hutch of Diamond’s beamline I12, the Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing (JEEP) instrument which offers unique opportunities for industrial scale experiments using multi-purpose, high capacity sample environment. Nikolaos' study demonstrated the feasibility of real-time imaging and stress analysis of reciprocating components inside a running internal combustion engine [i]. It showed how synchrotron light can deliver unprecedented insights into the inner workings of complex engineering machines.
 

Key insights from iCAR 2013

Michael Drakopoulos, Diamond Scientist who runs the JEEP beamline, showing iCAR delegates around the beamline.
Michael Drakopoulos, Diamond Scientist who runs the JEEP beamline, showing iCAR delegates around the beamline.
Chris Beddoes, Director General, of CONCAWE, an industry Association dedicated to researching environmental issues relevant to the EU oil industry, commented, “The refining industry is an incredibly innovative industry, recognised by the EU in the top 4 industrial sector for both product and process innovation. As refining continues to evolve its future can be more than just about processing hydrocarbons for fuels and extend to molecular management of various feedstocks to produce both fuels and petrochemical products. Using new technologies and research facilities such as Diamond we can start to look at refining fuels on a molecular level providing industry with the specific quality requirements it needs.”
 
Andy Beale, Research Complex @ Harwell and Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry, UCL, discussed his research into the nature and behaviour of catalysts for NOx emissions, saying, “Synchrotron light has allowed us to obtain a detailed understanding into how these state of the art catalysts work enabling us to propose strategies for optimising performance and prolonging their lifetime.”
 
Nikolaos Baimpas, doctoral student in the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, speaking on the research that led to him receiving the inaugural Infineum-Diamond prize for Innovative Automotive Research using Synchrotron Light. Nikolaos conducted experiments on I12, Diamond’s Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing (JEEP) beamline, which showed how synchrotron light can deliver unprecedented insights into the inner workings of complex engineering machines.
Nikolaos Baimpas, doctoral student in the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, speaking on the research that led to him receiving the inaugural Infineum-Diamond prize for Innovative Automotive Research using Synchrotron Light. Nikolaos conducted experiments on I12, Diamond’s Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing (JEEP) beamline, which showed how synchrotron light can deliver unprecedented insights into the inner workings of complex engineering machines.
Ian Shannon, Global R&D Manager, Passenger Car Motor Oils at Shell Global Solutions said, “To develop lubricants that enable effective lubrication of future fuel-efficient vehicles, engine manufacturers and lubricant producers should work together to ensure lubricants and engines are designed as one system.  The lubricant of the future will be highly fuel efficient, highly temperature stable, resistant to deposit formation, compatible with complex after-treatment and new surface materials. To develop lubricants that enable effective lubrication of future fuel-efficient vehicles.”
 
Trevor Rayment, Director of Physical Sciences at Diamond Light Source commented, “The research undertaken at Diamond by both academic and industry researchers is leading the innovation of cleaner, smarter and more efficient vehicles.  iCAR 2013 has brought together individuals from diverse specialities all of whom are committed to the same goal.  We believe that this event has built connections and disseminated ideas that the industry will find valuable as it maps out the future of transport.  Speakers have described both the challenges and the research they are currently undertaking to meet these challenges and, in doing so, re-shaping the automotive industry of the future.  We are very excited that science here at Diamond is playing an important role in making that possible.”
Chris Locke, Executive Vice President of the Marketing and Technology division at Infineum International Ltd said, “We developed a key partnership with Diamond Light Source as part of our commitment to long term investment in research to meet the environmental and technical challenges of the future. We recognise that some of these challenges are so broad ranging that they need to be addressed through ongoing collaborations, with physics, chemistry and engineering experts combining their knowledge and specialist research capabilities.  At iCAR 2013, we hope to further enhance this spirit of innovation through collaboration and sharing our experiences with others in industry.”

 

[i] “A feasibility study of dynamic stress analysis inside a running internal combustion engine using synchrotron X-ray beams” by Nikolaos Baimpas, Michael Drakopoulos, Thomas Connolley, Xu Song, Costas Pandazaras and Alexander M. Korsunsky. J. Synchrotron Rad. (2013). 20, 316-323   
doi:10.1107/S0909049513000885

 

About the organisers

Diamond Light Source, a joint venture between the UK Government and the Wellcome Trust, is located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. By accelerating electrons to near light-speed, Diamond generates brilliant beams of light from infra-red to X-rays which are used for academic and industry research and development across a range of scientific disciplines including structural biology, physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering, earth and environmental sciences. For more information, please visit www.diamond.ac.uk

 
The Infineum Group of Companies is a world-class petroleum additives enterprise. With headquarters in Milton Hill, UK, Infineum is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of lubricant additives used primarily in automotive, heavy-duty diesel and marine engines, and additives for gasoline and diesel fuels. Its customers are oil companies and other lubricant and fuel marketers. The Infineum product line also includes specialty additives for automotive transmission fluids, and gear and industrial oils. For more information visit the Infineum Web site at http://www.infineum.com