Past Event Reports

The events below have all passed, but this page gives an overview of the broad range of subjects we cover.

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Reducing Carbon Emissions - can the automobile make a positive contribution

Automobile Division Yorkshire Centre Technical Lecture – 7 February 2012

Speaker: Prof Peter White
Automobile Division Chairman


So how can the automobile make a positive contribution to reducing CO2 emissions?  By reducing the weight of a car by 80kg this can equate to 3g CO2/km reduction whilst a 10% reduction in drag coefficient can similarly equate to a 3g CO2/km reduction.  These were just some of the eye opening and interesting facts that Professor Peter White presented at a Technical Lecture held at the University of Huddersfield on Tuesday 7th February.  As the current Chairman of the IMechE's Automobile Division and Professor of Thermofluid Dynamics at Coventry University, Peter White is eminently qualified to communicate some of the current challenges faced in the automotive industry and what some of the potential solutions may be to tackle carbon emissions.  For instance, did you know that 20% of the fuel consumption is directly attributable to the tyres? So how often does the tyre pressure get checked on your car? 

The lecture given highlighted some insightful facts and figures regarding the major contributors to energy consumption in the world today.  In 2006/7 of the total carbon emissions emitted, the contribution by transport in the EU was 24%, and world-wide this was 23%.  Of the transport emissions contribution in the UK, 54% are from cars and there has been an increase of UK transport emissions of 12% from 1990-2007.  It is clear that if reduction targets are to be met, the automobile MUST make a positive contribution.  There are 3 key contributors which can help reduce the carbon emissions, these are: the mass of the vehicle; the aerodynamics; and the rolling resistance.  In addition, Prof Peter White proposes an interesting concept in the pattern of use of the vehicle.  Similar to calling plans on mobile phones, he proposes a leasing type plan where people would select the type of vehicle which would be most suitable for a particular journey.  For example, for stop/start daily commutes over short distances, perhaps a small electric vehicle would be better suited.  Whereas for longer motorway-type journeys a highly fuel efficient internal combustion engine vehicle may be suitable.  To make a significant reduction to carbon emissions, people’s behaviour about the type of cars that people use for the various journey types must change. 

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