Currently reading: Innovative hybrid generator tech wins Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award
Teeside University graduate proposes exhaust gas-driven system to enhance efficiency

An innovative generator system that could significantly boost the efficiency of an electrified car’s powertrain has topped this year’s Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award 2017.

The proposal, thought up by 25-year-old Teeside University mechanical engineering graduate Tom Lingard, uses a power generator that’s driven by the car’s exhaust gases to input energy into the electric system.

The generator can top up the charge of a hybrid car’s battery or even drive its ancillaries, such as coolant and fuel pumps, reducing the load on the combustion engine and therefore increasing its fuel efficiency.

Lingard also said that his system could improve efficiency in electric vehicles with combustion engines to charge their batteries, such as the BMW i3 range-extender, which uses a 650cc petrol motor. Reducing the work of the twin-cylinder engine would allow it to drink even less fuel.

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The Next Generation Award offers each year’s winner a platform on which to build or develop a career within the automotive industry. Lingard, who was announced as winner at tonight’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders dinner, will now start a six-month work experience journey with award sponsors including Jaguar Land RoverMcLaren Automotive, NissanToyotaHonda and Horiba MIRA.

“It is an honour to be announced as the winner of the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award 2017. It has been a fantastic experience – from the intense judging process to the mentoring programme,” said Lingard, who is from Stockton on Tees (and pictured below).

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“It’s extremely exciting to have won the internship rotation and to be able to experience everything over six months right at the beginning rather than over the space of 20 years, it's an incredible opportunity.”

Judges commended Lingard’s proposal for its topical focus, which comes at a time when the automotive industry is investing heavily to improve efficiency and performance in hybrid power units.

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Two other finalists for the award were also recognised for their ideas. Jack Levy, a mechanical engineering student at Cardiff University, submitted a plan to introduce a network of contactless charging roads to UK motorways, to reduce current range anxiety with electric vehicles.

Stephen Crossley, an automotive engineering student at Oxford Brookes University, set out to improve handling, traction, cornering ability and tyre wear rate by altering the camber based on a driver’s requirements.

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“The Next Generation Award enters its ninth year of success, during which time we have seen a host of talent flourish under its banner and go on to notable success in the global automotive industry,” said Martin Bohling, global managing partner at Courland Automotive. “All of the judges on our panel look forward to this time of year and the opportunity to celebrate once again the undoubted talent the UK automotive industry has to offer.”

Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley added: “The initiative has delivered, once again, a phenomenal level of talent with some highly innovative ideas that could seriously improve the automotive industry. Tom’s idea evaluated industry demands combined with a changing vehicle landscape.

“With the volume of high-quality entries, it has been a challenging task narrowing it down to the finalists and an overall winner. It has been an honour to work with each and every finalist and I would personally like to congratulate them all. There are definitely exciting times ahead for the industry.”

Applications for the 2018 Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award will open early next year. For more information, visit the Autocar Next Generation Award website.

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LP in Brighton 29 November 2017

I think it's all about marginal gains

Sure there will be an increase in exhaust back pressure, but this may be offset by using exhaust heat energy to do mechanical work. I'm sure that the aim will be to generate more watts of electrical energy for the least engine power reduction, so this alternator (or turbonator as such systems have been called) will be more efficient than the belt-driven variety. 

But it would be good to see some actual numbers in this article to support this idea - as well as some idea of the challenges involved. Cost and packaging may be difficult? 

The Doctor 29 November 2017

No free lunches

Won't any attempt to take power out of the exhaust just increase back pressure and mean the engine will have to work harder to produce a given power output?

Why not just take the power from the engine directly like, oh I don't know, an alternator?

xxxx 29 November 2017

I think

Sounds similar to the F1 system, connected to the Turbo, they're trying to ban.