Centre for Advanced Powertrain and Fuels Research (CAPF)


CERG : Combustion Engine Research Group


One of the largest and most active engine research groups in U.K., our research on internal combustion engines goes back to the late 1960s. The work of the Group covers both experimental and modelling aspects of engine research.

The group has 11 Test Engines housed in two laboratories.

Contacts: Prof. Hua Zhao (Group Leader), Dr. Tom Ma, Dr Xi Jiang, Dr Thanos Megaritis, Dr Lionel Christopher GanippaProf. Alasdair Cairns, Dr Apostolos Pesiridis

Group Structure

Group Structure

Key Features

  • Member of European Network of Excellence (NOE) on Combustion Engines
  • Over 4.0million in the last few years
  • 25 RAs and PhD students
  • Over 60 recent international publications

Research Themes

  1. Advanced Gasoline engines and their fuels
  2. Advanced Diesel engines, fuels and aftertreatment
  3. Air Hybrid Engines
  4. Development and application of advanced optical diagnostics to IC engines
  5. Engine simulation and computational fluid dynamics
  6. Automotive Turbomachinery

Sponsors / Collaborators

  • European Union
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Jaguar Cars Ltd.
  • Delphi Diesel Systems
  • Rover Group
  • BP
  • ohnson Matthew
  • Ricardo
  • Cambridge University
  • Brighton University
  • Institut Francais du Petrole
  • Instituto Motori
  • Renault


Professor Hua Zhao VideoProfessor Hua Zhao is the director of Centre for Advanced Powertrain and Fuel (CAPF) and Head of Mechanical Engineering Department at Brunel University. Following an overview of CAPF, Professor Zhao presents the air hybrid Regenerative Engine Braking (RegenEBD) technology applied to a bus engine. He then introduces the world most advanced single cylinder research engine that can be operated with different engine cycles with direct high pressure injection and compressed air supply. Advanced laser diagnostics and optical techniques are presented for two optical engines in which in-cylinder flow, fuel injection, and combustion are measured. Finally, a specially designed engine for in-cylinder studies of super knock is shown.

Dr. Mohammad Reza Herfatmanesh Video Dr. Mohammad Reza Herfatmanesh is a research assistant at the Centre for Advanced Powertrain and Fuel (CAPF) at Brunel University. He describes the research facilities surrounding optical diagnostics of the diesel combustion and the associated mechanisms of pollutant formation in an optical single cylinder research engine. In order to meet the ever more stringent emission standards, advanced non-intrusive laser based techniques have been developed and implemented at CAPF over the past two decades aimed at further development and optimisation of modern diesel engines.

Simon Dingle VideoSimon Dingle, a PhD. student of the School of Engineering and Design, discusses his research into the combustion of future fuels in downsized automotive engines. The research is focussed on improving the efficiency of future engine designs through more efficient combustion of both current petrol and future bio-ethanol. Downsized petrol engines are increasingly being seen as a key technology in improving both CO2 emissions and fuel consumption in passenger vehicles and the research being conducted at Brunel University is vital in advancing the understanding of how future fuels and lubricants will affect this technology.

Dr Yan Zhang Video Dr Yan Zhang of the School of Engineering and Design discusses a unique two/four stroke switchable camless direct injection boosted gasoline engine. There is no camshaft on the engine. The valvetrain is driven by the electro-hydraulic actuation, which allows to vary the valve timings flexibly. Many combustion modes and engine operating modes can be achieved on this engine. Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) also referred as Controlled Auto Ignition (CAI) is the potential combustion technology for the engine to reduce fuel consumption and emissions simultaneously. HCCI/CAI has been achieved on this engine in both two-stroke and four-stroke cycles.


Multi-cylinder engines

2.0litre HSDI CR diesel engine, I4 & V6 prototype GDI engines

Single cylinder engines

3 Ricardo Hydra Single cylinder optical engine testbeds, 1


Full Gas analysers, fast FID, fast sampling valve, Smoke/PM analysers

Optical Systems

2 Nd:YAG Lasers, a Dye laser, an Excimer laser, a Copper Vapour laser

Detectors: 2 Gated ICCDs, high-speed colour video camera (60K fps)


LDA, PIV, LIF (fuel, OH, CH2O ), LIEF, SRS, LII.

Engine simulation

Phenomelogical, gas dynamics, and CFD (KIVA3v)

Facilities in CAPF

2/4 Stroke Switchable Engine


Major Projects

Our current major research projects include:

Recent Research




Prof. Hua Zhao
Head of Centre for Advanced Powertrain and Fuels Research

Postal Address

Centre for Advanced Powertrain and Fuels Research (CAPF)
Mechanical Engineering
School of Engineering and Design
Brunel University
Uxbridge, Middlesex
UB8 3PH, United Kingdom
Tel. +44 (0)1895 266 698
Fax. +44 (0)1895 256 393

Location in University

Centre for Advanced Powertrain and Fuels Research (CAPF)
Tower B

Page last updated: Wednesday 05 February 2014