Kinetic Energy Recovery Boosting

Following 5 years of R&D by Professor Alasdair Cairns and his team, the project now is focused on delivering an automotive-ready solution, in-line with the industry established Automotive Technology Readiness Levels. This process aligns R&D project deliverables to industry accredited parameters for technology acceptance into manufacturing. In particular, it lays out the required level, or readiness the technology must achieve and the parameters it must deliver on prior to industry adoption, and therefore commercialisation. Should the solution deliver on all of its targets, this process facilitates a straightforward and industry accepted route for integration into manufacturing, and therefore monetisation of the technology.

What is the opportunity & why does it exist?

  • The automotive manufacturing industry is being driven by global legislation to reduce the amount of CO2 their vehicles emit
  • Efforts to date have produced mixed results, but many manufacturers did not reach the 130g/km required pre-2015. And neither have they achieved the 2020–2024 target of 95g/kg average
  • Further target CO2 decreases of another 15% for cars & vans between 2025-2030, and another 37.5% for cars and vans from 2030
  • As seen in the recent news Volkswagen, Audi, Hyundai, Seat and many others manufacturers are unable to meet the emission requirements today without ‘CHEATING’
  • Engine right-sizing is a key trend in the automotive industry, as are electrically assisted turbocharger solutions, in the Light and Heavy-duty goods, agricultural and material handling vehicle sectors. This will see the majority of cars, vans, HGVs, agricultural and materials handling vehicles fitted with new engine solutions in Europe and other key regions between 2022 and 2030
  • In the rest of the world, any solution delivering greater efficiency, lower complexity and reduced cost for combustion engines will have a huge potential market.

What is the technology and how proven is it?

  • VN-KERB-TS uses existing technologies to recover wasted energy/pressure from the engine, and utilise this energy to spin-up the turbocharger ready for the next acceleration/load event, eliminating turbo-lag, increasing engine efficiency and performance, and reducing cost and complexity over an electrically assisted turbo-solution
  • The solution delivers this transformative performance using off-the-shelf components, whilst integrating with existing engine technologies with little adaptation
  • The solution has already proven capability to deliver at least the same performance as a normal turbo. It is now being tested with a reduced engine component setup, to deliver industry acceptable results and data analysis for a manufacturer to adopt the technology into their engine specific development and test strategy.

This project will demonstrate the performance and commercial benefits of a KERB-TS turbocharger solution over-and-above electrically assisted turbochargers, which are more complex, more expensive and much heavier.

The next stages from TRL4 on involve

  • Integration of the newly designed and built VN KERB TS turbocharger solution with a reduced engine component test-rig
  • Verification of the operating conditions and performance characteristics of the turbo to further prove capability, and suitability for multiple engine technologies and sizes
  • Solution demonstration to potential industry commercialisation/manufacturing partners to secure development funding to take the technology to TRL6, and/or a potential sale.

How and when will the project make money?

  • With 2 Patents already granted, and a further two pending, VN-KERB-Turbo solutions will deliver revenue by licence sales to Passenger Car, LGV, HGV, agricultural, material handling vehicle Manufacturers
  • 3-5 years to deliver revenues
  • Achievement of TRL6 will deliver the first potential investor exit via a trade sale.

How large is the market?

  • Market Research carried out by VN-KERB-TS, shows that there are 68m new cars manufactured every year. Annual growth within the Global Automotive manufacturing industry over the long term is projected to be approximately 2% pa
  • 2020 – 291, 261 heavy buses
  • 2020 – 4,361,421 HGVs
  • 2020 – 17,206,438 LGVs
  • 2020 – 2,500,000 agricultural vehicles
  • 2020 – 1,800,000 material handling vehicles
  • 2020 – 900,00 construction vehicles