More than 60 percent of the energy generated in vehicle engines by fuel is lost through the exhaust gas and the coolant. The biggest part of this simply slips off into the environment as heat. The Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT is probing the causes for this kind of waste. It is developing efficient drive concepts for vehicles, and has succeeded in increasing the degree of efficiency of car engines by five percent, and up to ten percent for commercial vehicle powertrains.

Researchers at a new hot gas test facility are testing the waste heat from systems and turbo-chargers. (© Fraunhofer ICT)

The scientists have new test facilities that enable them to map the entire process of powertrain development. The goal is to optimize the technologies of the drivetrain being utilized, so that the fuel savings is optimal. The linchpin of this new test infrastructure is an engine and hot gas test stand where researchers can analyze engines and their components both mechanically and thermodynamically.

At the facility, scientists are studying how individual components of a mini-power plant behave under various framework conditions. The scientists are closely networked with other powertrain experts from research institutions and the development departments of automakers.