The unit Engines and Propulsion systems apply a systems perspective on the powertrain so that future transport can meet the high demands of the future. The focus is on researching engines and propulsion systems that contribute to reaching sustainable transport. This means that they must both be able to fulfil their purpose, such as harrowing a field or transporting products and people and do so without any greenhouse gas emissions or harmful emissions. Techniques currently being developed for this purpose are engines that can run on multiple renewable fuels, new injectors (see Combustion and Spray) and techniques to reduce or use the heat losses that occur in the engine.
Hybridization, combining electric motors and combustion engines in a powertrain, is a way to utilize internal combustion engines more efficiently, thereby achieving more fuel-efficient transport. In hybrid vehicles, the internal combustion engine can often be smaller and run more efficiently.
In Engines and Propulsion Systems, a big part of the research is focused on how we should develop these smaller engines specifically for hybrids and how they should be driven. Machine learning is an important and new area to ensure that the electric motor and the internal combustion engine work optimally throughout the entire driving cycle.