How can faith in the testing of car emissions be restored?

Dr Fabrizio Bonatesta is a Reader in Thermofluids. He is an expert in modelling activities for reducing emissions in gasoline and diesel engines. Fabrizio won an Oxford Brookes Research Excellence Award in 2016/17.

“Back in 2015 Volkswagen found itself at the centre of an emissions scandal leading to serious repercussions for the car-making industry.

‘Emissionsgate’ or ‘dieselgate’, as the media often referred to the controversy, had an impact on a truly global scale.

Much of the press’s focus was on the discrepancies between results in test environments and how cars actually performed in real-world settings. Importantly, the media coverage gave the general public a glimpse into the significant issues around compliance of passenger diesel vehicles with nitrogen oxide and Particulate Matter (PM) emission regulations.

Modern, fuel efficient Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engines have been shown to actually emit more particulate than diesel engines. This has serious environmental consequences and health implications for conditions such as heart diseases, cancer and pulmonary inflammation.

Over the past few years the Engine Modelling Team at Oxford Brookes have acquired significant expertise in the field of PM formation and 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling of GDI engines.

Our ultimate goal is to accurately model the engine processes to help find effective approaches to reduce soot formed “at source”, enabling lower ultra-fine PM yield and lesser reliance on Gasoline Particulate Filters.

This is a novel area of investigation, and the work is regarded as necessary and instrumental in the identification of improved engine control strategies.

A growing, specialised expertise in the field of PM formation in gasoline engines has already attracted the interest of major stakeholders resulting in national and international collaborations within both academia and industry.”

The Research Excellence Awards were launched in 2016 to support research-active academics. Fabrizio was one of the inaugural recipients.
Find out who won awards in 2017 »