Design Tool for Cost Effective Reduction of Noise from Enclosed Power Generators (DRONE)

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


The aim is to develop a multidisciplinary 'design tool' that encompasses the state-of-the-art knowledge in noise source identification and transmission from enclosed generator sets, for more competitive environmental noise performance. Currently, within the UK based power generation industry, there are no design tools available that have the capability to optimise the design of cluttered enclosures for noise reduction at minimum manufacturing cost, in addressing the noise directive 2000/14/EC. Quantitative information about the performance at conceptual design stage is not known. Expensive mock-ups have to be manufactured to determine their performance, which adversely affects the lead-time and profits. Virtual acoustic validation and costing of manufacture for early conceptual design of power generating sets is very challenging. Specifically there are no tools on the market that link conceptual design parameters, acoustic analysis of those parameters and manufacturing cost. The market targeted for the project is the power generation industry, specifically sound attenuated generator sets, which is highly competitive and globally worth an estimated 2.7billion for products up to 2000kVA. The combination of Industry and Academia in this project will ensure an integrated capability for merging a virtual design and validation process, in terms of noise and manufacturing cost. The project will be led by FG Wilson using 6 Sigma DMEDI methodology. Having this capability at the design stage will result in a new understanding of the product, hence optimised performance weighted against cost. The developed flexible parametric design interface will provide a user-friendly platform to use the toolkit. The mix of partners involved in this project in terms of their role, expertise and strategic motivation has been a major consideration in setting up the consortium. The overall balance of partners includes large users, SMEs, software tool developers and academic experts. This mix represents a group of partners who each have a strong personal motivation in the project. The technical approach will involve the use of computational Indirect Boundary Element (IBE) and experimental approaches to simulate the radiation and scattering of the sound generated and transmitted through an enclosed diesel generator set, which includes an engine, an alternator, and cooling fans. In addition, methods for noise and vibration reduction based on damping and using multi-layer acoustic liner will be developed and implemented. LMS UK Ltd will supply their comprehensive suite of software for acoustic predictions and undertake development, while FG Wilson, the lead organisation, will supply generator sets, of different power ratings. Externally, a Ground Power Unit (GPU) supplied by Houchin Aerospace, will be used as an independent validation exercise. In general, this technology will be highly generic with wide scope ranging from automotive, aerospace, railway and marine through to the construction industry where trade-off in the cost of environmental noise reduction is such a relevant issue. The key innovation of this project hinges on the capture and exploitation of expert knowledge, from multiple technical disciplines, under one environment using numerical modelling techniques, empirical algorithms, industrial manufacturing cost data modelling, and experimentation for evaluation and design data generation for next stage. This will provide engineers with a tangible environment from which to synthetically design inherently cluttered enclosed generator sets, meeting lead-time, competitive cost targets and noise legislative targets.

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
DT/F006829/1 01/09/2008 11/09/2009 £507,229
DT/F006829/2 Transfer DT/F006829/1 12/09/2009 15/11/2011 £320,287
Description Supported a KTP project 
Organisation Masters Choice
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The Masters Choice is a company manufacturing portabler partitions. Based on the analytic and the experimental results, the optimal design scheme was selected and the new product was tested in England. 54dB on the Weighted Sound Reduction index was achieved, which was the highest for any similar product manufactured in the UK and Republic of Ireland at that time. After the Masters Choice obtained the acoustic certificate, the business had increased in the following two years.
Collaborator Contribution This collabrition has generated student's projects.
Impact 1. 54dB on the Weighted Sound Reduction index was achieved 2. Obtained the national acoustic certificate for Masters Chois 3. Helped Masters Choice to pass the fire resistance test of new products
Start Year 2008