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A Deakin University invention that uses waste heat to slash car fuel consumption has been recognised with a Gold Award by the Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia (SAE-A).
Geelong-based engineering researcher, Frank Will, received the SAE-A Automotive Excellence Gold Award from the Victorian Manufacturing Minister, Richard Dalla-Riva, at a presentation dinner in Melbourne in July.
Mr Will said that he felt blessed to win this prestigious award, especially considering his invention was compared with entries from some of Australia’s - and even the world’s - largest automotive companies including Robert Bosch and GM Holden.
“This award is not only acknowledgement for my work but for my family and colleagues who have supported me, without them the invention would not have been possible,” Mr Will said.
“I am sure that this award will help to generate even more interest in the system so that it can be put into production much faster.”
The winning system invented by Mr Will and his team uses waste heat to reduce car engine friction by warming the engine oil to its optimal operating temperature. The prototype has demonstrated fuel consumption savings of more than seven per cent.
Car engines typically waste about 80 per cent of the fuel consumed, with only 20 per cent of the fuel’s energy used to drive the car forward and the rest is lost as heat.
Mr Will believes the Deakin system – which is tentatively named OVER7™ – represents a smarter approach to vehicle engine design.
“One of the most important features of our system is that it doesn’t have to heat all the oil in the sump. Instead, it heats the active oil in the engine lubrication system making the overall heat transfer process much more efficient,” Mr Will said.
“The system also has the potential to be retrofitted to existing engines and we don’t think it will require big changes to fit it.
“We also think the system will be suitable for a range of vehicles, including diesels, hybrids and alternative fuels.”
The research team is now working on further testing with car manufacturers and their suppliers to optimise the technology to best suit their needs.