15 March 2013

RMIT's green engines research lab an Asia-Pacific first

Research into sustainable automotive technologies will be boosted with the launch of RMIT University's $10 million Green Engines Research Facility in Bundoora, the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region.

Craig Ondarchie MLC, Member for Northern Metropolitan, joined Professor Peter Coloe, RMIT Pro Vice-Chancellor Science Engineering and Health and Vice-President, to officially launch the facility this week.

The world-class RMIT Green Engines Research Facility will be open to the local and international automotive industry, supporting leading-edge experiments on alternative fuels for advanced and more efficient internal combustion engines.

Professor Aleksandar Subic, Dean of Engineering and Head of the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, said the projects would tackle the challenges faced by the industry in a carbon-constrained economy.

"Internal combustion engines are a tried and tested technology, but we need to find ways to make this excellent technology more sustainable and more efficient in the future," Professor Subic said.

"This facility enables us to investigate all possible liquid and gas alternative fuels - including multi-fuel platforms - that could be used for internal combustion engines.

"There is no research lab like this at universities in this part of the world - it's already generating strong interest from local and international automotive firms and we look forward to future collaborations on research and development projects."

Guests at the launch included representatives from GM Holden, Ford, Bosch Australia, VicRoads and the Automotive CRC.

The facility enables investigations of combustion and fuel delivery systems for alternative fuels - particularly gaseous fuels - in direct-injected and boosted internal combustion engines, through the visualisation and quantification of sprays and combustion in steady state and dynamic environments.

It includes two dedicated test facilities designed in collaboration with one of Europe's leading centres for combustion engine research, Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology, plus Volvo and AVL engineering staff, enabling multi-cylinder engine testing, laser diagnostics, single cylinder and spray-vessel research.

"The testing facilities will enable researchers to recommend precise improvements to fuels, fuel delivery systems or combustion systems," Professor Subic said.

Engine technology expert and former Fiat research leader Associate Professor Albert Parker, who joined the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering in January, will lead a research group centred on the new facility.

The launch of the facility comes as the School welcomes a new Adjunct Professor in Automotive Engineering, Scuderia Ferrari's Dr Luca Marmorini.

Dr Marmorini, who is Head of Engines and Electronics at Scuderia Ferrari, will deliver seminar presentations and provide strategic advice to doctoral researchers and staff on potential areas of engine research, including leading-edge studies at the Green Engines Research Facility.

Student running a test in the research facility

The dedicated test facilities have been designed in collaboration with Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology, Volvo and AVL engineering staff.

Test being run on a car in the facility

The facility enables a range of studies including multi-cylinder engine testing, laser diagnostics, single cylinder and spray-vessel research.



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Professor Aleksandar Subic, Craig Ondarchie and Professor Peter Coloe at the launch of the new facility

Professor Aleksandar Subic, Craig Ondarchie and Professor Peter Coloe at the launch of the new facility.

Craig Ondarchie officially opens the $10 million centre.

Mr Ondarchie officially opens the $10 million centre.

Dr Petros Lappas and Associate Professor Albert Parker will lead research at the facility.

Dr Petros Lappas and Associate Professor Albert Parker will lead research at the facility.