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Developing vehicle electrification

IFPEN believes in the benefits of vehicle electrification for reducing fuel consumption and limiting the environmental impact of transport. This will mostly rely on various level of hybridization adapted to usage.

IFPEN’s research in this field covers the development of electric machines and their associated power electronics, energy storage and its recharging issue, and finally the optimization of onboard energy in complex hybrid systems.


Electric Powertrains

The cost of hybrid vehiclesand, to an even greater extent, that of electric vehiclesremains an obstacle to their widespread use on the market.

In this context, IFPEN is working on the development of innovative, ultracompact electric machines with a high density power, along with their power electronics. This type of machine appears to offer significant potential for industrial production at affordable prices.

In 2015, IFPEN conducted intensive research in this field with its partner Mavel, focusing on electric motors for traction. In particular, a concept was developed incorporating the possibility of a range of products, with high efficiency and low cost; it has been tested in a demonstrator vehicle. IFPEN researchers also worked on control algorithm solutions of Mavel's inverters for this concept.


Lost thermal energy recovery

To make it possible to use waste heat, IFPEN is working in partnership with start-up company Enogia on an approach based on the Rankine cycle, consisting in recovering, in the form of electricity, some of the thermal energy lost by engines, industrial processes, furnaces, turbines, solar thermal installations, etc.

The range of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbines already marketed by Enogia covers powers of 10 (ENO-10LT), 20 (ENO- 20LT) and 40 (ENO-40LT) kWe.

For the time being, the majority of turbines are used in the agricultural sector for biogas conversion (several farms equipped with ORC 10 and 20), as well as waste landfill sites (ORC 10 for Veolia in the Hautes-Alpes region and ORC 40 for Méthanergy in Épinay-Champlâtreux, Val-d’Oise) and to recover heat emitted by thermodynamic solar energy production installations (ORC 20 acquired by the CNRS for the solar installations in Odeillo).

 A 100 kWe version of the ORC has been in the demonstration phase on the Vert-le-Grand landfill site, in the Essonne region. Early results are in line with expectations and the version is set to enter the production phase in the first quarter of 2016.

                     ORC 100 turbine in the demonstration phase at a landfill site.

To further expand the range of products offered, IFPEN and Enogia are now examining the possibility of adapting them for use in the transport sector. For example, within the context of the Trenergy project, supported by ANR, in partnership with Alstom Transports, an ORC 20 has been developed for diesel-electric trains. Prototype tests were finalized in 2015 on IFPEN’s Lyon site, and an industrial partnership is currently under discussion. Finally, the European project Life+ EfficientShip is currently adapting an ORC 20 for use on a fishing boat. Ongoing developments may subsequently be used in road vehicles.


Towards services for connected vehicles

A vehicle's energy efficiency depends not only on the performance of its powertrain but also its use in real conditions (traffic conditions and driver behavior, for example).

IFPEN is developing a range of web services dedicated to energy efficiency and transport safety, marketed under the name DriveQuant.

These services are designed to reduce fuel consumption, improve safety and help drivers improve their driving.

IFPEN offers four different types of services:

  • energy analysis (fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, energy mapping),
  • eco-driving (performance indicators, coaching, fuel savings forecasts),
  • safety (driver risk rating, coaching, danger areas and improvement areas),
  • and finally, coaching (evaluating driver safety to help motorists drive more safely).

The DriveQuant platform uses patented algorithms resulting from many years of R&D, including those developed for the GECO application, which was made freely available in 2014. DriveQuant is designed for fleet managers, insurers and new players in the field of smart mobility.

                                            The GECO™ eco-driving application

                                                 Connected Mobility   
                                   Moving pictures on IFPEN YouTube channel                

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Key figures

models aimed at micro-mobility (electrics) planned by manufacturers for 2020.


“We have many joint projects with IFPEN and our collaboration from a technical point of view has been particularly effective. Mavel counts greatly on this partnership because IFPEN’s technical credibility and strength are necessary to help our jointly developed technology access very challenging markets. I’m particularly impressed by the speed with which we have submitted applications for patents to protect our innovations. I’m confident in IFPEN’s capacity to react, an essential strength in the face of stiff competition to ensure our future successes.

Davide Bettoni, Founding Chairman of Mavel