Jaguar Land Rover has announced the creation of two new ‘Centres of Excellence for Engine Combustion Research’ at two leading UK universities. The £1m investment will be shared equally between University College London (UCL) and the University of Oxford to support the development of new research facilities and fund two 5-year study programmes.

Each centre will focus on specific combustion technologies. The work at UCL’s Department of Mechanical Engineering will be dedicated to spark ignition in petrol engines, led by Dr Pavlos Aleiferis. At the University of Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science, Dr Martin Davy will lead the project on compression ignition in diesel engines.

The primary area of research will be to understand and develop advanced combustion concepts compatible with future fuel advances by investigating new combustion geometries, valvetrain, fuel injection, air management and ignition technologies.

These study programmes have the potential to feed directly into the future development of Jaguar Land Rover’s new Ingenium family of compact, lightweight, high-efficiency diesel and petrol turbocharged engines, which will begin production at the new Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton early in 2015.

Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology for Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We are on a very positive trajectory to reduce vehicle emissions and improve fuel economy. As there is no single solution to cleaner, greener vehicles, we are investing in the research and development of a range of technologies that potentially could help to improve future internal combustion and to develop alternative powertrains.

“Our investment at UCL and the University of Oxford forms part of our strategy to encourage, develop and co-ordinate innovation and powertrain engineering skills here in the UK. We are doing this by partnering with a number of leading universities to ensure we support the development of a strong UK engineering capability right from the very fundamentals of research.”

The centres will be equipped to undertake comprehensive research, both experimental and virtual, using latest-technology single-cylinder engines, advanced optical techniques, and CFD computer modelling tools.

Jaguar Land Rover will provide technical support to the Universities from its powertrain research team and with powertrain CAE CFD computer simulation experts. The university teams include a number of senior academic staff, research assistants, technicians and research students.

Brian Cooper, Principal Engineer, Jaguar Land Rover Powertrain Research, said: “Our aim is tohelp develop the skills and technologies within industry, academia and the supply chain to help us deliver the breakthrough technologies required to meet the diverse global CO2 and emissions challenges of the future.

“The focus for these two research projects is to find new ways to deliver improved fuel efficiency without compromising the performance and driveability our customers expect. The combustion system is at the heart of the engine and there are significant opportunities for improvement in this area with new technologies for both petrol and diesel.”

Jaguar Land Rover Limited: Registered office: Abbey Road, Whitley, Coventry CV3 4LF. Registered in England No: 1672070

The figures provided are as a result of official manufacturer's tests in accordance with EU legislation. A vehicle's actual fuel consumption may differ from that achieved in such tests and these figures are for comparative purposes only.