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Clean future for diesel

For immediate use
Friday 23rd November 2001

They sound like tractors, they're known for being dirty, but the public's love affair with the economical diesel engine rolls on.

Now a new generation of cleaner diesel engines may soon be available thanks to scientists from Imperial College, London and the University of Brighton who have been awarded a research grant of nearly £375,000 by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Led by Professor Alexander Taylor, Imperial College and Professor Morgan Heikal, University of Brighton, the joint project will seek to develop cleaner combustion systems for diesel engines - tackling current concern over environmental pollutants and cancer causing agents in vehicle emissions.

Professor Heikal, head of the University of Brighton's School of Engineering Research Centre, said: "All our research is aimed at reducing car emissions and fuel consumption. With this grant we hope to achieve a more in-depth understanding of the new generation of combustion systems."

Researchers currently use laser diagnostic techniques to measure the how liquid fuel in diesel engines is reduced to fine particles and then mixed with air - the new funding will help develop these techniques.

Professor Taylor from the department of mechanical engineering at Imperial College explains: "The modern generation of high pressure injection engines seems to offer the promise of being able to create finer particles that mix with air better than ever before." He added: "If we can understand more about how to promote these two processes, we should be better able to understand how to reduce diesel engine emissions."

The award will be announced by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council on 8 December 2001 and the project will commence on 1 April 2002.


For further information please contact:

Judith H. Moore
Press Office
Imperial College
Tel +44 (0)20 7594 6702
Mobile +44 (0)7803 886248

Philippa Green
University of Brighton
Tel 01273 643022

Notes to editors:

1. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the largest of the United Kingdom's seven government-funded research councils. Its mission is to support the highest quality research and related postgraduate training in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC aims to advance knowledge and technology and to provide trained engineers and scientists for the benefit of the United Kingdom and the quality of life of its citizens. It has the further role of promoting public awareness of engineering and the physical sciences. Website address for more information :

2. Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine is an independent constituent part of the University of London. Founded in 1907, the College teaches a full range of science, engineering, medical and management disciplines at the highest level. The College is the largest applied science and technology university institution in the UK, with one of the largest annual turnovers (UKP339 million in 1999-2000) and research incomes (UKP176 million in 1999-2000). Web site at