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Energy COnversion in Engines

ECO-ENGINES aims to set up a virtual research centre (VRC) on advanced engine combustion modes for road transport, giving special emphasis to the use of alternative and renewable fuels, and establishing it as a world reference in the domain.

Tags: Road


Research on energy conversion in engines in the last decade in Europe, Japan and the USA has shown the great potential of advanced combustion modes like CAI, HCCI or CCS in terms of efficiency gain and reduction of pollutant emissions.

They allow for a dramatic reduction in the emissions of NOx from combustion engines, to often less than 1% of those from engines running in standard modes. The complex deNOx after-treatment systems typical of today's cars could therefore largely be simplified, while at the same time complying with the most stringent emission standards.

To a lesser extent this also holds for the soot particle emissions from diesel engines running HCCI modes, which can be reduced by some 20-30% as compared with standard engines.

The definitive advantage is that these emission reductions are achieved while maintaining or even further increasing the high levels of efficiency of the most developed engines. This leads to good perspectives for further reducing the CO2 emissions from engines, achieving the ambitious goals set by the EC and other organisations like EUCAR.

These widely recognised advantages of advanced combustion modes has led to intense research in Europe, Japan and the USA aimed at making them usable in real engine applications.


The overall aim of the ECO-ENGINES is to set up a virtual research centre (VRC) on advanced engine combustion modes for road transport, with special emphasis on optimised alternative and renewable fuels. This VRC will be the result of an integration of the related research activities of major European institutions in the domain, and will include dedicated actions towards education and dissemination. The ambition is to be recognised as a worldwide leader of research on advanced engine combustion modes.

In order to enable ECO-ENGINES to make a definitive contribution to the development of low CO2 and near zero emission powertrains for cars, three research topics (RTs) will be addressed by the VRC, covering all aspects of research on advanced engine combustion:

RT1: Experimental techniques

including research on optical diagnostics to explore flow and combustion inside the combustion chamber of engines, as well as research on experimental techniques for measuring ultra low pollutant emissions.

RT2: Combustion simulation

including research on 3D numerical simulation of fuel injection, flow and combustion inside the combustion chamber of engines.

RT3: Fuel/engine emissions

including research on fuel test methods, procedures to evaluate the performance of fuel/engine couples in terms of CO2 emissions/efficiency and pollutants, and methods to characterise fuels.

Description of work

These overall objectives and ambitions will be realised by implementing a joint programme of activities (JPA) with the following detailed objectives to be achieved during the envisaged three-year funding by the EC:

  1. Create a common knowledge basis by setting up and regularly updating an extensive state-of-the-art survey on researching ECO-ENGINES’ topics;
  2. Define common standard procedures: The objective is to jointly define, use and constantly update basic standard procedures which are the basis of research work. The aim is to facilitate exchanging or comparing outcomes of research actions undertaken by different partners, thus facilitating an integrated planning of research.
  3. Jointly plan and organise new research on advanced combustion modes: The objective is to increase knowledge in Europe within the domain of advanced combustion in engines by triggering new research actions using the ECO-ENGINES resources and knowledge, but it is also open to outside collaborations.
  4. Set up a common education and training: The objective is to set up a common, integrated education and training programme in the domain of advanced engine combustion modes and to seek intense collaborations with partners outside the network and all over Europe.
  5. Actively disseminate knowledge and results: The objective is to ensure a wide dissemination of the knowledge and exploitation of results.


The following results have so far been achieved:

  1. extensive state-of-the-art survey on the three pre-competitive research topics
  2. work on best practice guidelines in the three research topics
  3. definition, planning and realisation of a first Advanced Engine Combustion Summer School commonly organised by network members
  4. Based on 1) and 2), the identification of gaps in research. Filling these gaps is of high European interest
  5. Based on 5), start of defined research projects undertaken by the network partners
  6. Creation of a public and restricted access website to advertise project activities and organise information exchange between the partners.