Microsoft word - proj_13 kee phd project nacco 2013 gmcc & rk.doc
PhD Project Proposal
Title: Simulation of Energy Consumption in Forklift Trucks and Development of Efficient
Fit with University Priority Area and Corporate Priorities (max. 100 words)
Clearly indicate how the proposed project fits in with the University Strategic Priorities outlined in the
The proposed project will focus on the development and validation of computer models for the simulation of
energy efficient electric and hybrid trucks. The topics involved will include battery technology, control systems
for hybrid vehicles, motor generators and energy regeneration. These topics, the vehicle modelling approach,
and vehicle testing are all directly relevant to both on-highway and off-highway vehicles, and align very well
with ‘Future Transport Technologies’ which is among the University’s 1st Order Priorities in the Institutional
Research Strategy. Project Description (max. 250 words):
Project description should be written in simple terms, with the main objectives of the proposed research
outlined in order of priority.
The proposed research is an element in the second phase of a collaborative project with NACCO (Craigavon)
and NMHG (Portland). In Phase 1, a validated simulation of a diesel powered forklift truck has been
developed. This simulation has gained a very pleasing level of acceptance in the company and is currently
being used on 2 research projects in Portland and 1 in Holland.
A proposal for Phase 2 was submitted to Invest NI on 27th July, and approval is anticipated in about 2 weeks.
In addition to equipment and travel, etc., the proposal to Invest NI includes 1 PhD student for 3 years and 1
PDRA for 1.5 years. In the preparation of the proposal, it was very apparent that the company’s simulation
requirements extend well beyond that which could be completed by a single student and a PDRA. An
additional PhD student is required to allow inclusion of the additional research that has been identified.
The overall aims of the Phase 2 project are as follows:
• to provide the company with a validated suite of simulation programmes which will assist in the
design and development of more fuel-efficient products which are competitive in a global market.
The specific objectives for the 2nd PhD student are as follows:
• to develop a sound understanding and computer models of advanced technologies (e.g. lithium ion
batteries, regenerative braking etc.) which may be required in future energy efficient trucks.
• to enhance the functionality of the model so that a range of advanced configurations can be
Key Transferable Skills (max. 100 words)
Clearly describe the important transferrable skills the student will develop during the proposed project that
could enhance their potential employability.
The project will follow the format of Phase 1, i.e:
• development of computer models at QUB
• instrumentation and testing of trucks at Craigavon
• monthly WebEx reviews at Craigavon including a presentation by the student, and participation by
engineers in Portland, England and Craigavon
Key Transferable Skills: Intellectual and Research
independent study and assimilation of knowledge from the literature
synthesis of mathematical models
experimental data acquisition techniques
critical analysis of experimental and computer predicted data Communication
presentation of research work (review meetings, online conference calls and conferences)
report and technical paper writing Interpersonal
teamworking (colleagues, supervisors, senior managers and technicians) Organisational
Potential Impact (max. 100 words)
Fuel efficiency significantly influences the purchasing decisions for forklift trucks, and while NMHG has made
progress in competitiveness, in some sectors it lags significantly behind major competitors and important
customers have been lost. Senior management are convinced that significant improvements are required to
retain current market share in Europe.
The proposed project will produce computer simulation software which will aid the optimisation of current
designs, and allow advanced alternative configurations to be evaluated rapidly. Such optimisation will, in the
short term, help to maintain and grow market share. In the medium term, the alternative configurations, such
as hybrids, will be required for growth. Dissemination (max. 100 words)
The collaborating company has a global presence and is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Some aspects
of the work will be commercially sensitive and therefore company approval will be required before
dissemination. However, the company is keen to promote a ‘high-tech’ image and is committed to the
publication of technical papers. A paper has been submitted to the SAE World Congress in Detroit - details
below. Such publications will be carefully targeted to achieve maximum impact and consequently
dissemination will only occur at international level as follows:
SAE Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress
SAE International Journal of Alternative Powertrains
SAE International Journal of Commercial Vehicles Murtagh, M., Kee, R.J., McCullough, G. et al., Development and Validation of a Forklift Truck Powertrain
Simulation, SAE Congress, Detroit, April 2013. Submitted Nov. 2012
External Academic Collaborator(s):
Matthew Allen & Stephen Trimble, NACCO
Start Date: October 2013
End Date: October 2016
*First/Lead Supervisor: Dr Robert Kee
*Second Supervisor: Dr Geoff McCullough
School: Mech. & Aero. Eng.
School: Mech. & Aero. Eng.
Research Cluster: Clean Energy
Research Cluster: Clean Energy
*All supervisors must be ‘in line’ for REF return
Signature of Head of School: ___________________________
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