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Feature Article

Published by ECN - featuring Bruno Lequesne, 2019-2020 TEC Chair

Automotive Engine Electrification Broadens Reach

by Bruno Lequesne, IEEE fellow

When thinking about the onset of engine electrification, some people initially reference the engine control unit (ECU), as well as the more recently introduced transmission control unit (TCU), since these ushered the era where electronics literally took control of engine operation. Today, beyond these “smarts,” there is a growing emphasis on the utilization of electric drive technology in engines and related peripheral automobile systems. While hybrid and electric vehicles have gotten a lot of well-deserved press due to the notable technical achievements that have been realized, there is also a lot more opportunity for utilizing electrification throughout the automobile. These areas include fuel injectors, valvetrain systems, exhaust recovery, superchargers, power steering systems and other accessory motors, and, of course, generators, starter-generators, and hybrid motors. Below we explore a few examples of recent, past, and future applications, as well as motor technology developments.

To read the complete article click here.

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Upcoming Webinar:

Hybrid-Electric Air-Vehicle Propulsion:  Challenges, Opportunities, and Impact
Presented by Phillip Ansell
Monday, April 22, 2019, 11:00am

Abstract:  The aeronautics industry has been challenged on many fronts to increase efficiency, reduce emissions, and decrease dependency on carbon-based fuels. These efforts have been driven not only due to the adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions produced by aviation, but also to ensure long-term viability of the industry as it prepares for an increase in affordable sources of renewable energy and a decrease in availability of traditional fuel sources. To meet future demands, several approaches have been taken to reduce the fuel burn of aircraft, including improvements in the aerodynamic efficiency of air vehicles, increases in turbofan engine efficiency, and alternative jet fuels. Additionally, electrification concepts for aircraft propulsion have been developed, such as turboelectric, hybrid-electric, and all-electric aircraft systems. However, the commercial viability of hybrid-electric aircraft is widely unknown. The high power-density, flight-weight electric motors necessary to provide some or all of the power for a commercial transport aircraft do not yet exist, but their performance may be estimated using future projections. Current battery technology is not as energy dense as traditional aircraft fuel sources, leading to significant range limitations when used as an energy source for aircraft. Additionally, battery technology is not completely without greenhouse gas emissions, as the energy used to charge the batteries from the electric grid must be generated in some way.   Read more.

 

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