A Zero-Emission Closed-loop linear-Joule CYcle (ZECCY) engine generator

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


Over thirty six months, this project aims to demonstrate the potential of a highly disruptive zero emission, high efficiency electricity generator concept for use in transport and power generation applications. A Zero-Emission Closed-loop linear-Joule CYcle (ZECCY) engine generator which yields only liquid water as an emission (i.e. no particulates, or gas phase emissions). As such, it is analogous with hydrogen-fuel cell technology but more lightweight, potentially more efficient and based on a well-established UK manufacturing base.
This project will demonstrate the true potential of this technology for vehicle applications by:
a. Completing the manufacture, assembly and commissioning of a concept demonstrator through the development of an existing test platform
b. Gather the evidence required to advance the project successfully by conducting a robust testing programme underpinned by rigorous simulation and performance improvement.
c. Establish the future case of ZECCY generator technology through the development of a technical and commercial roadmap to deployment.

Planned Impact

The impact of the proposed project will come through the development of Newcastle and Sheffield University's IP in free-piston engines, ZECCY engines, linear generators and associated technologies and establishing the market, applications and the technical evidence base. Evidence of the significantly greater efficiencies compared to the current and projected state-of-the-art will open-up significant opportunities for further research and commercialisation and this will be brought forward through collaborative R&D demonstrators of the technology through H2020, APC and Innovate UK.


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Smallbone A (2020) Realization of a Novel Free-Piston Engine Generator for Hybrid-Electric Vehicle Applications. in Energy & fuels : an American Chemical Society journal

Description To improve the cycle performance an intercooler, reheater and regenerator can be included and greatly increases its efficiency. It was found that a hydrogen-helium cycle is more efficient over all pressure ratios but the most expensive to operate.
Exploitation Route Academia can use the outcomes to explore other related thermodynamic power cycles. Further development of the prototype system can be taken forward toward a commercial system with further funding.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Transport