Dolphin N2’s journey thus far & the impact their collective knowledge is having on the heavy-duty/off-highway transport sector, is a testament to the incredible team they have built & the belief in their “game-changing” technology.
The Dolphin N2 journey:
Innovate project “StepCo2″consortium of UK manufacturers and universities was formed in 2017 and led by Ricardo PLC to develop the split cycle technology and to produce a demonstration engine.
Dolphin-N2 was created internally in Ricardo as a separate group
Dolphin N2 is purchased by FPT Industrial in December 2019 and takes the lead in StepCo2 project.
Dolphin N2 develops the technology for first scale demonstration in 2020, and forms a further APC grant funded consortium to showcase hydrogen capability. (1)
Therefore, following two years of rapid growth but Covid having kept the team from physically gathering & at a pivotal point in their continued journey; it was decided to bring the entire Dolphin N2 team together for a strategic update day on 15th November 22.
The event was planned to not only bring the team together for an internal update, but to allow outside speakers to address the team about the changes in the heavy-duty transport sector & how Hydrogen is impacting this. Therefore, the setting had to reflect the relevant sector & the ethos Dolphin N2 represent.
With this in mind it was decided to approach the Advanced Propulsion Centre based at the University of Warwick to request the use of their new exhibition space, the National Propulsion Showcase.
The National Propulsion Showcase is a bright, open-plan and flexible exhibition space dedicated to exploring opportunities within the UK automotive industry, with the objective of accelerating the journey to a net zero future. (2)
Virtually Smart Ltd having supported the Dolphin N2 team with all of its business support needs since the very beginning, were responsible for orchestrating & coordinating the entire Dolphin N2 team day. Virtually Smart Ltd were in charge of booking the venue/speakers/catering & hotels for team members & being solely responsible for the logistics/tech & smooth running of the event on behalf of Dolphin N2.
The day was to be split in to two halves. For the morning session outside speakers were to be brought in to address the Dolphin N2 team & in the afternoon it would be an opportunity for the various Dolphin N2 departments to share their updates & latest developments.
Following a development & data update from CEO Simon Brewster & Technical Director Nick Owen, Alan Tolley – MD of Advanced Powertrain Technologies Ltd (APT) addressed the Dolphin N2 team.
Tolley with his background in JCB, now works in a consultancy capacity with his own company APT. Tolley spoke to the Dolphin N2 team about the practicalities & challenges of H2 ICE’s with his agenda covering:
Hydrogen characteristics, Hydrogen combustion, the use of Hydrogen in modern ICE’s, combustion processes, fuel injection, pros & cons of the main H2 ICE configurations, PFI, LPDI & HPDI.
Despite the fact that Hydrogen is now being hailed as another alternative zero emissions future fuel particularly in the heavy-duty & off-highway sector; Tolley explained that the H2 ICE is not a new concept. In 1806 Francois Isaac de Rivaz, a Swiss inventor credited with inventing the first successful internal combustion engine; powered his machine with a mixture of hydrogen & oxygen instead of oil.
One of the points raised by Tolley was that ICE’s for future applications must have the following attributes:
‘Zero’ emissions – GHG (CO2, CH4, N20, etc) & AQ (NOx,Pm,HC,etc)
High efficiency – Performance (response, durability, reliability)
With this in mind, H2 is already proven to have zero emissions in use & has high efficiency. However, one of the sticking points still remains in the production & storage of Hydrogen & the changes in infrastructure required to make it accessible.
Furthermore, H2 production would be required to be fully net zero from production to end use, rather than zero emissions in use, but still producing CO2 in production. As most hydrogen currently produced is grey hydrogen, the shift to entirely green hydrogen production will require additional research, development & investment.
One of the other speakers from the morning session was James Mercer from Costain Construction. Costain are one of the partners in the HYDRATE programme funded by BEIS to replace Red Diesel alongside Dolphin N2 (lead partner) & The University of Brighton.
The HYDRATE project will develop a Hydrogen version of the Recuperated Split Cycle Engine (RSCE), a highly innovative, fuel-agnostic thermal engine targeting heavy duty applications. (3)
The RSCE offers very high efficiency (competitive with a PEM fuel cell), and very low emissions (SULEV with aftertreatment). (3)
Mercer explained how Costain have been moving away from diesel options & focussing on the use of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) as one alternative to diesel & recently ran an entire building site at fully net zero for two weeks. Using a combination of overhead charging lines to charge HGV’s, biogas, HVO & H2; the site was a signal that particularly in construction, the options are varied & can be easily adopted.
When asked if Costain plan to move to use H2 or gen sets for energy/power on construction sites, Mercer explained that having sourced sustainable H2 from electricity, it would be entirely counter productive to then use gen sets.
The Advanced Propulsion Centre’s Luke Bates – Automotive Trend Strategist & Daniel Fung – Head of Strategy & Planning also joined the morning session & the subjects in discussion covered the impact of BEV production, H2 in the energy sector, a review of the 2020 roadmaps & H2 opportunities in the UK.
The afternoon session was an opportunity for the Dolphin N2 team to share their latest updates as a collective. The session covered the developments in Operations, Controls, Simulation, Systems, Programme, Design & Test & development.
Having most of the Dolphin N2 team physically together as a collective allowed for open discussion & debate, something which does not necessarily translate in a teams meeting. With members of the Dolphin N2 team being based partly at the Millbrook site at UTAC, at offices in Shoreham & some members of the team working remotely; the opportunities afforded by having the team together in such an inspirational space were obvious.
The National Propulsion Showcase was the perfect setting for what turned out to be an enormously successful gathering of engineers, team leaders, SLT, programmers, engine builders, systems operators, academics & industry specialists.
With invaluable contributions from outside speakers from Advanced Powertrain Technologies Ltd, The University of Warwick, Costain Construction, Enertek International & the Advanced Propulsion Centre; the level of input & engagement for all attendees was informative & helped gain a greater understanding about the zero emissions journey the UK transport system is currently on & what part the Dolphin N2 ‘game-changing’ zero emissions engine development has to play in this incredible journey.
Written by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2