Advanced Powertrain and Fuels PhD
PhD student loans
The UK Government has recently introduced PhD loans of up to £25000 to UK and EU nationals, residing in England, for postgraduate research programmes starting in the academic year 2018-19. Read more here.
About the course
Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. A PhD involves demonstrating through original research or other advanced scholarship the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of an academic discipline or professional practice, the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the general of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline. Both full-time (3 years) and part-time (6 years) study routes are available.
In the Advanced Powertrain and Fuels theme, we have particular strengths in improving the efficiency and reducing emissions of existing engines through developing advanced combustion processes and their controls and boosting technologies. We are equipped with the most advanced camless and direct injection research engines, as well as state-of-art laser and optical equipment for the study of fuels and engines: in particular marrying experimental and modelling methods and through the utilisation of advanced laser measurement techniques in transparent optical engines . The research on regenerative engine braking is feeding strongly into our commercialisation activities. We have particular interests in developing efficient bio-fuel supply chains, as well as a number of novel technologies for manufacturing bio-fuel from industrial waste and new combustion technologies optimised for bio-fuels.
As 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 and involves 7 full-time members of academic staff, 25 PhD and RAs.
The faculty working on Advanced Powertrain and Fuels at Brunel have been recognised for their outstanding skills. In 2015, Prof Zhao was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, joining other distinguished academics from renowned research institutions and technologists from world-leading engineering companies. Hua was honoured for his fundamental and applied research into novel engine combustion concepts, air hybrid engine and vehicle technologies, and advanced laser diagnostics for the development of high efficiency and ultra-low emission powertrains for the automotive industry.
While we welcome all multidisciplinary topics in the area of Advanced Powertrain and Fuels, here is a list of potential research areas we would like to supervise. For details of these and other potential topics please visit our Doctoral Opportunities webpage:
- Prof. Hua Zhao: gasoline engine, diesel engines, laser diagnostics, spray and combustion studies, bio-fuels, air hybrid/energy recovery, variable valve actuation
- Prof. Thanos Megaritis: fuel reforming, particulate filter, NOx aftertreatment
- Prof. Alasdair Cairns: gasoline engine, knocking combustion, engine downsizing, dual fuel engines
- Dr Lionel Ganippa: diesel engines, bio-diesel, fuel spray and injection, diesel emissions
- Dr Jun Xia: CFD and LES of sprays and combustion flows
- Dr Apostolos Pesiridis: boosting technologies, turbocharger design, exhaust heat recovery.
Find out more:
Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)
Research degrees evolve in different ways according to discipline. Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure
Examples of current PhD projects
- Macklini Dalla Nora: Experimental and numerical studies of a 2-stroke poppet valve direct injection gasoline engine
- Wei Guan: Advanced diesel combustion in a HD engine with Miller cycle
- Ian May: Diesel-gas dual fuel combustion technologies in a HD diesel engine
- Vinicius Pedrozo: Diesel ignited ethanol dual fuel combustion process in a HD diesel engine
- Yuanping Li: Experimental study of Miller cycle in a highly downsized DI gasoline engine
- Yan Zhang: Experimental Investigation of controlled auto-ignition combustion in a 2-stroke poppet valve engine
- Thompson Metzka Lanzanova: Investigation of hydrous ethanol combustion and emissions in 2 and 4-stroke GDI engine
PhD+ Award – An internship to work in the industry or perform a research outreach or enterprise activity.
PhD Plus is a career development scheme designed to provide an opportunity for excellent PhD students to undertake work experience and mentoring, and to facilitate their transfer into a career area of their choice. The awards are targeted at exceptional PhD students who have submitted their thesis within the expected submission date and will provide up to three months’ funded support for the period after submissions of their thesis and before the confirmation of the award. The precise number awards each year will depend on the quality of the applicants, up to a maximum 8 awards. The maximum amount to be awarded will be in line with RCUK rates for research training support grants: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/skills/training/
Many of our PhD graduates are employed in the automotive and oil companies, such as Ford, BP, JLR, Mahle Powertrain, AVL, Ricardo in UK, as well as overseas companies and Institutes in Europe, US, China, Korea and other Asian counctries. Some PhD graduates continued working as postdoctoral research assistants and then employed as University lecturers in UK, Asia and Africa.
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Entry criteria 2018/19
The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree. All international students must show evidence that they meet the English requirement for their course of study. The Senate reserves the right to assess the eligibility of applicants on an individual basis.
As part of our application process for entry on our research degree (MPhil and PhD) programmes, we ask you to provide a 500-1,000 word research statement, excluding any references/bibliography you may include, setting out your research motivation, ideas and aspirations. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU entry requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English language requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
- Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)
You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.
If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.
Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.
We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.
Teaching and learning
Supervisors with insight
Our researchers create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip versatile graduates with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Browse the list of the members of our Theme to select your potential supervisor here. You are welcome to approach your potential supervisor directly to discuss your research interests.
Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team here.
We offer access to facilities and equipment at an appropriate scale for applied, industry-led research, bridging the gap between the lab and the marketplace to accelerate manufacturing implementation. We have expertise in using the following techniques: LDA, PIV, LIF (fuel, OH, CH2O ), LIEF, SRS, LII. We have also been conducting phenomelogical, gas dynamics, and CFD engine simulations.
The group has 11 test engines housed in two laboratories:
- Multi-cylinder engines: 2.0litre HSDI CR diesel engines, I3 GDI engine, 7.0Litre diesel engine
- Single cylinder engines: Camless DI gasoline engine, boosted 120kW/Litre DI gasoline engine, 2.0litre HD CR diesel/gas engine, 2 Hydra Diesel /GDI optical engines, AVL fully transparent optical engine, overhead transparent engine
- Analysers: Horiba Full Gas analysers, fast FID, fast sampling valve, Smoke/PM analysers, transient and steady state particle size analysers
- Optical Systems: 2 single-shot Nd:YAG Lasers, a Dye laser, 2 Excimer lasers, a Copper Vapour laser, a high speed DPSS UV laser for LIF, and a high speed PIV laser
- Detectors: 3 Gated ICCDs, 3 high-speed colour video camera (60K fps) with intensifiers
We collaborate closely with industry partners as part of the Brunel Automotive Hub.
We also conduct:
- Heath and safety training
- Laser safety training
- Regular research seminars
Study environment for research students
Find out more: Study environment for research students
Excellent research support and training
Extensive training and support is offered to all research students by the Graduate School, with regular Masterclasses and individual advice on academic issues as part of the Researcher Development Programme. Read more about the available Research Support and Training.
Brunel's library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 e-books, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject Information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs.
- state-of-the-art research information management tools including a research publication and grant database
- one of the largest UK’s full text repository
- an integrated data management system
- analytical tools such as Altmertic and InCites
- Open Access centrally managed fund
Facts and figures
In the recent REF 2014 Assessment Engineering and Design ranked amongst London's biggest and best.
Brunel University London REF2014 Submission
Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The results of the REF2014 have been made public in December 2014, replacing the previous REF conducted in 2008. The next REF will be undertaken in 2020. Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 - A Guide for PhD Students
Centre of Excellence for Engine Flow and Combustion Optical Measurements
The university was awarded an £848,198 EPSRC Experimental Equipment grant to establish a Centre of Excellence for Engine Flow and Combustion Optical Measurements (CEEFCOM) for Advanced Powertrain Technologies. The centre, led by Prof Hua ZHAO, will use the new facilities to gain new understandings of, and develop step improvements in, internal combustion engine efficiency, using both conventional and new fuel formulations.
Fees and funding
Fees for 2018/19 entry
Full time: £4,260/ Part time: £2,130
Full time: £18,000 Part time: £9,000
Full time: £4,195 Part time: £2,097
Full time: £17,500 Part time: £8,750
Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.
Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.