Today, minimizing CO2 emissions for the whole product life cycle and further reducing the legislative limited emission is the major goal for all technological developments, especially for the sector of mobility and propulsion. Focusing on electric propulsion as a long-term perspective, two major approaches for transition technologies towards zero CO2 emission can be identified: the use of Zero CO2 Fuels and Hybrid Propulsion Technologies.

In this context, the Research Center for Low Carbon Special Powertrain (RC-Lowcap) strives for an essential contribution to the de-carbonization of small powertrains for tools and utility, personal mobility vehicle and light transport by specific research projects and knowledge transfer. This includes research for the use and impact of CO2 neutral fuels in and on hybrid and/or novel combustion engine propulsion concepts, electrified and hybridized powertrain concepts for the focused applications as well as emission reduction in real world operation and CO2 life cycle assessment investigations. 

A consortium consisting of 4 scientific partners and 9 company partners has been formed under the guidance of the consortium leader, the Graz University of Technology, Institute of Internal Combustion Engines and Thermodynamics. The composition of the consortium guarantees the consolidation of international research and development competence, with a surplus of R&D potential compared to single research projects, due to conjoint research. The concentration of research interests of the participating company partners leads to the strengthening of Austria as research & development hub and as a production site, thus enabling the creation and preservation of highly qualified jobs in Austria.

The research has been applied for and was granted as COMET projekt under the guidance of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW) of and the Provincies of Upper Austria and Styria.

The research program span 4 years and is split in three Areas: “Zero CO2 Fuels”, “Hybrid & Electrification” and a strategic, cross sectional Area X. The scientific research will be conducted in intense collaboration between University and Fachhochschule, namely University of Graz, Graz University of Technology and Fachhochschule Oberösterreich (University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria).

The following topics in the mentioned field of special powertrain are addressed:

  • Use of CO2 neutral fuels and their use in special application propulsions considering real world emission behaviour
  • Reduction of CO2 emission by hybridisation and electrification
  • Further minimization of pollutant emissions
  • Assessment of CO2 emission over the whole life cycle