The FIRST project: Applying stop-start technology to city buses
Engineers from Cummins Turbo Technologies, Huddersfield are to be involved in developing new stop-start engine capabilities, improving commercial vehicle fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.
The UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board is awarding £4.9 million of a total £9.9 million project to a Cummins led consortium, which includes Cummins Turbo Technologies, to introduce this technology. The funding supports the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s initiative to build UK manufacturing strength in low carbon vehicles.
Named FIRSTTM for Frequent Integrated Soft Stop Start Technology (which includes starter motor with reduced noise and vibration compared to a conventional starter), the 36 month project is a collaboration of engineers from three of Cummins’ UK businesses including Cummins Turbo Technologies based in Huddersfield.
Dr Neil Brown, Cummins Technical Project Leader for FIRSTTM stated “Our customers are demanding improved efficiency from their engines. For those operations with frequent stop-start duty cycles, such as buses and delivery trucks, there is an opportunity for fuel savings by switching off the engine when stationary. Present solutions have limitations, so the funding enables Cummins to deliver a capable and durable technology to the market in a timely manner.”
To complete the project, Cummins will work with a number of partners. Dynex, who produce high power semiconductor devices and assemblies, will develop a new inverter technology for application across the global automotive supply chain. Castlet are designers and packagers of power electronic and control systems. The University of Nottingham will realise their electronics research to ensure the project delivers the most advanced power electronic controller in the market.
“Current low carbon solutions such as diesel-electric hybrids are dependent on government subsidies due to the long payback period. This solution represents a significant opportunity to the wider bus fleet with rapid payback on investment” added Brown.
Dr Neil Brown concluded “We are planning on developing an engine centric hybrid solution that is interchangeable with existing engine platforms at very low cost. The aim of project FIRSTTM is to break down technology cost barriers by using a unique technical approach that will in my opinion become a game changer in the industry. Cummins studies have shown that a city bus will have 50 stops per hour; with over 30% of time at idle. This gives the project significant opportunity for efficiency improvements.”