Air QualityCryoPowerEnvironment & ClimateFossil FuelsHeavy Duty & Off-highwaySustainabilityThermoPower

Dolphin N2 review of 2021. Sustainable ICE Virtual event, CATAPULT webinar, Cenex LCV & 300 Years of Leadership & Innovation Parliamentary publication

By December 29, 2021 No Comments

As we take a look back over 2021, we review the developments made by the Dolphin N2 team & reflect on the events they were able to attend.

4th February 2021

The Sustainable ICE Virtual ‘Live’ event was an opportunity for speakers from the ICE sector to discuss & debate the future of gasoline, diesel & alternative-fuel IC engines & some of the pressing issues surrounding the role of the ICE post-pandemic.

The recuperated split-cycle engine – a sustainable, lasting solution for the heavy-duty sector Nick Owen – Technical Director, Dolphin N2

Nick Owen’s presentation, brought the Dolphin N2 technology to a new audience. The heavy duty & off-highway sector cannot be governed by the same legislation being used to drive down CO2 emissions in cars & light vans. As Nick Owen said of heavy duty & off-highway “these vehicles are expected to do heavy duty work all of the time” & therefore their engines & drivetrain needs are worlds apart.

Despite the push towards BEV, Nick Owen acknowledged that in a heavy-duty context, this simply is not practical. “Batteries are dogged by weight issues” & despite future batteries most likely becoming lighter, “you cannot change the laws of physics” & in a heavy-duty context electrification will always pose charging & infrastructure investment issues.

The Dolphin N2 engine has been developed through a collaborative approach with funding, partnerships & working alongside the University of Brighton.

Recognising that if sustainability was not the main issues facing transportation, Nick Owen presented five alternative scenarios & their pros & cons (please see the slide below)

Therefore, why is the Dolphin N2 engine so appealing? The recuperated Split Cycle engine produces the following appealing attributes:

  • High thermal efficiency – 55-60% BTE
  • Low emissions – NOx at SULEV or below
  • Fuel compatible with Diesel, Methane & Hydrogen
  • Targets the long haul, heavy-duty sector where most commercial vehicle CO2 originates, alternatives are most challenging

The Dolphin N2 recuperated split-cycle engine is unique in it’s application, due to the CryoPowerTM & ThermoPowerTM technologies.

CryoPowerTM & ThermoPowerTM are Recuperated Split Cycle Engines. The revolutionary step is to separate the “cold” & “hot” parts of the traditional internal combustion engine. (1)

“This is a difficult sector & we mustn’t forget that it’s a difficult sector. Long haul applications are acknowledged by everybody & even environmental pressure groups say that it’s difficult, with no clear solution.”

“Therefore, we shouldn’t forget that the ICE has an awful lot to offer & an engine like the recuperated split-cycle, I hope I have shown you, is it’s clean, it’s efficient & it provides an answer without some of the drawbacks.”

“The human health impacts are smaller than the human health impact of ignoring climate change & it is easy to adopt, which means we can have the impact now, which we really need to do.”

“Fuel is absolutely key & zero or negative carbon fuels are possible, they work with the Dolphin N2 technology & we need the policy support to swing a little from electrification to help us get the fuel infrastructure in place”

14th July 2021

‘Knowledge exchange and collaboration between SMEs and Universities’ webinar

Simon Brewster – CEO Dolphin, N2 & Nick Owen – Technical Director, Dolphin N2 joined Professor Robert Morgan of the University of Brighton at the Connected Places Catapult webinar ‘Knowledge exchange and collaboration between SMEs and Universities’

The purpose of the webinar was to give SME’s & Universities an opportunity to discuss how their collaborations came to fruition & what it means to have cross collaboration at the heart of their technologies.

Simon Brewster – CEO, Dolphin N2

Simon Brewster CEO Dolphin N2 set the scene for the webinar, by exploring the journey which Dolphin N2 & the University of Brighton have been on together.

Dolphin N2 are a new company, founded by Ricardo in 2017. Having incubated the recuperated split cycle engine technology alongside the University of Brighton since 2017, Dolphin N2 have grown from a team of 7 – 35 people, based in Shoreham & Millbrook, Bedfordshire.

Having successfully spun out from Ricardo in December 2019 & being purchased by FPT Industrial, a subsidiary of CNH Industrial; the Dolphin N2 split cycle CryoPowerTM & ThermoPowerTM recuperated engine is now on track for a full production launch 2025-2026.

Professor Robert Morgan – Professor of Thermal Propulsion Systems, University of Brighton

Professor Morgan began to explain that one of the ways in which him & his team were able to fathom the development needs of the Dolphin N2 engine technology, was through what is known as the Impact Factory.

When discussion about the banning of fossil fuel based engines began in earnest, the engineers at the University of Brighton began to consider their options & how to solve the problem.

The Impact Factory ethos uses the idea of problems being Tame, Messy or Wicked. “Messy or Wicked problems, are hard to explain or describe, until you know the question you should be asking”

Diesel engines problems are in their chemistry. Oxygen plus Fossil Fuel plus Nitrogen equals Power plus Heat plus GHG plus Oxides of Nitrogen. With the high compression ratio equalling hotter combustion & NOx; the Higher the efficiency of the diesel engine, the more NOx it will produce.

Having to un-learn 100 years of diesel technology & re-writing the rule book on diesel engines, the University of Brighton engineers were able to decouple the engine & with either water or liquid nitrogen; super cool the exhaust emissions, removing the NOx & in doing so eliminating tailpipe emissions.

When it comes to collaboration with the University of Brighton, their testing abilities have been vital for the development of the Dolphin N2 engine.

The University of Brighton has tested four Dolphin N2 rigs over the years. The mule multi cylinder 267kW unit has been utilised for alternative fuels & thermodynamic research. The Titan single cylinder rig has been exploring combustion & thermodynamics. The spray rig has been testing water, liquid nitrogen & diesel injectors & the Hydra, single cylinder compressor, has been exploring compression, cooling & thermodynamics.

22nd & 23rd September 2021

Cenex LCV

The Dolphin N2 team joined a host of innovators at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle Event at UTAC, Millbrook Proving Ground in September 2021.

Over the space of two days the Dolphin N2 team’s ThermoPowerTM Recuperated Split Cycle engine generated an incredible amount of interest in the UK Government Pavilion.

Dolphin N2 entered the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) ‘Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator’ (ARMD) competition in June 2020.

The aim of the fast-start competition was to support UK Industry’s continuation with R&D after the COVID-19 pandemic & accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles.

The winning projects from the ARMD Competition received a share of £16.5 million investment, combining public grants & industry contributions.

With the return of Cenex LCV, the Dolphin N2 team were able to display a physical engine on the ARMD stand. Scott Parsons – Project Manager & Chris Skoyles – Design Engineer were responsible for ensuring the engine not only created great interest, but also recognised the collaborative quality of the project.

The steel plate on the front of the engine recognised the collaborations between Dolphin N2 & FPT Industrial of which Dolphin N2 is a subsidiary, the Advanced Propulsion Centre, InnovateUK, Zircotec, The University of Brighton, The University of Sheffield & Hiflux.

The overwhelming response to the display was incredible. APC CEO Ian Constance spent time speaking with Simon Brewster about the potential for the ThermoPowerTM Recuperated Split Cycle engine & it’s capabilities as a zero emissions solution for heavy duty, off highway & agriculture.

With other interest, dialogue & follow up conversations from such people as John Kell – Dept of International Trade, David Tozer – Innovate UK, Chris Harris & Jon Beasley from the APC & Bath University to name but a few; the Dolphin N2 technology certainly has gained traction & interest amongst UK Government collaborators & other innovators in the advance to net zero arena.

22nd September 2021

300 Years of Leadership & Innovation book launch at Westminster Abbey

After attending the LCV show for most of the day, Simon Brewster – CEO & Nick Owen – Technical Director, made their way to Westminster Abbey.

It was a great honour for Dolphin N2 to be asked to feature in the 300 Years of Leadership & Innovation book published by St James House, in collaboration with the History of Parliament & to attend this prestigious event.

Written by Katy Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2