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The next generation of engines and engineers

* 24 April 2003 *

The next generation of engines and engineers

Engineering researchers at the University of Sussex will be developing the next generation of computer-controlled diesel engines.

The Control and Diagnosis for Internal Combustion Engines (CANDICE) project will run for two years and will bring together researchers from the UK and France. Students on the new Automotive Systems degree course, which starts this October, will also be involved.

"The objective of this project is to identify new ways of controlling diesel engines," says Richard Stobart, Professor of Automotive Engineering at the University of Sussex.

"Diesel has historically had a bad image of noisy and smoky London taxis and lorries, but modern diesel engines have a lot of virtues. For example, they produce up to 20% less greenhouse gasses and are very efficient."

However, diesel engines still produce high levels of nitrogen oxides and microscopic soot particles, which are proving difficult to control.

"What we are looking into is how to develop new electronic systems to control the injection of fuel and the combustion in the engine cylinders in ways that will reduce pollution," adds Professor Stobart.

Electronic systems play a significant role in today's cars, with one third of the manufacturing cost of a typical car made up of electrical and electronic systems.

"The new Automotive Systems degree course is designed to train engineers in the software skills needed to work with the kind of electronic systems found in modern vehicles," says Professor Stobart. "The explosive growth of electronic systems in cars has left the industry short of engineers able to design and program such systems."

The course will span a range of subjects - with a combination of software, electronics and mechanical engineering. Students will benefit from links with both car companies and major sub-system suppliers to the motor industry.

The CANDICE project is funded by the European Commission Interreg IIIA scheme, which aims to stimulate cooperation between European regions. The project brings together researchers at the University of Sussex, the École Supérieure d'Ingénieurs généralistes (ESIGELEC) and the Complexe de Recherche Interprofessionnel en Aérothermochimie (CORIA) at the University of Rouen.

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University of Sussex,
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