Optical Engineering Research Group
- Collaborative cutting-edge research revolutionises duel fuel engines – saving money and protecting the environment
Work on the development of dual fuel technology began at Loughborough in 2001, and the early findings were well received.
Meanwhile, the Nottinghamshire-based Hardstaff Group – which provides cutting-edge technology and innovative services to the global road transport industry, particularly in relation to product enhancement and environmental protection – was conducting similar research to improve its own haulage fleet.
In 2006, having worked in parallel for many years, the Group and the University began their first collaborative project to develop dual fuel technologies.
Within just two years, the partnership between the company and academics from the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering had resulted in a commercial Oil-Ignition-Gas-Injection system – OIGI®.
Using optical diagnostics, the research team was able to refine the system, increasing the average substitution rates of natural gas for diesel from 45% to 60%.
This advance represents substantial savings in fleet running costs as well as significant reductions in carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, 15% and 30% respectively in comparison to similar diesel-only engines.
As well as improving its own HGV fleet, Hardstaff is now an official Mercedes Benz dealer – supplying OIGI® as an approved retro-fit on all UK Axor and Actros long-haul vehicles. In 2010, a Scandanavian Hardstaff subsidiary was launched to supply the same service for Volvo FL and FE trucks.
On-going research has resulted in a state-of-the-art computer model of the dual fuel combustion process which has demonstrated the potential for exploiting dual fuel systems in passenger and smaller commercial vehicles.
This continuing work is supported by a purpose-built test facility funded by the Transport iNet, and won the Lord Stafford Innovation for Sustainability Award in 2010.
OIGI® has reduced the Hardstaff HGV fleet fuel costs, making savings of £1.6m pa in comparison to a 100% diesel fuelled fleet.
In 2013, Hardstaff estimated its combined UK / Scandanavian retro-fit business as being in the region of £4m.
OIGI® provides significant reductions in carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, 15% and 30% respectively.
The research team received the Lord Stafford Innovation for Sustainability Award in 2010.