Dyson Future Power Systems Lab

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

Abstract

With an ever growing need to become carbon neutral as a society, and increasing concern about the harm of disposable products and the pollution they cause, the time is right to strive to change the domestic market for electrical consumer goods and deliver solutions that are more environmentally friendly and consume less energy. Dyson is well-placed to effect change in this industry with its experience in delivering efficient, lightweight power systems in collaboration with Newcastle University. Through optimisation and innovation of the power systems at their heart, Dyson has shown in recent years how vacuum cleaners and hairdryers can be made smaller, lighter and more efficient, reducing their material and energy usage. Newcastle University have been a key partner in the development of these systems and some of the key technologies that enable them; both in terms of academic contribution and in educating a significant portion of the Motor and Power Systems engineers in Dyson's Research department.

Traditionally, concepts such as efficiency, sustainability, and end of life impact have not been of major concern in smaller domestic appliances, where cost was the prime concern and the power system for the product was a bought-in component. However, with 1/3 of all UK electricity consumption being attributable to domestic use and an estimated 1 billion domestic appliances in the UK alone, both the efficiency and sustainability of these appliances need urgent reflection and improvement to help drive the UK and the world towards long-term sustainability goals. In particular, the environmental impact of domestic appliances is dominated by through-life electrical power consumption, which averages an annual 36TWh in the UK, thus even a modest 5% improvement in energy conversion efficiency (which we believe is achievable through improvements in motor efficiency alone) would represent a significant saving in grid generation requirement.

We will achieve our goal of improving the energy efficiency and reducing environmental impact of domestic products through a whole-systems-level integrated approach in which all subcomponents of the power system are considered, designed and optimised simultaneously. Additionally the typical modes of operation of the end appliances will be incorporated into the design procedure to maximise performance and efficiency gains at the most common (and therefore most important) operating points.

Planned Impact

The proposed Dyson Future Power Systems Laboratory aims to ensure the UK maintains a world leading position in electrical consumer goods, producing systems which are more efficient, smaller, lighter, lower cost and more environmentally sustainable than other existing and emerging solutions, thus providing long-term strategic value to the UK consumer goods industry.

The project makes a major contribution to three of the EPSRC Prosperity Outcomes:
Productive Nation
Healthy Nation
Resilient Nation

Impact upon Business will centre on:
driving the development of the market for more efficient electrical goods; contributing to a resilient nation by ensuring energy security and efficiency and sustainable management of resources.
overcoming significant technical challenges and generating intellectual property, which will be utilised by Dyson within their future products, maintaining the UK in general, and Dyson specifically, as the world market leader in the next generation of electrical consumer goods.

The impact to the UK as a whole will focus on:
Building links with the EPSRC Manufacturing hub on electrical machines, of which the academic investigators are also part of. The outputs of this project will feed into and the team will collaborate with these activities, with active participation in events organised.
The fundamental research on system efficiency and sustainability will have a major influence over other sectors, including:
o The aerospace sector, where there is intense interest in hybrid and all electric propulsion systems, along with the marine and rail sectors. We will engage through our overlapping links with the governments Aerospace Technology Institute
o The electric vehicle industry, where the academic investigators head the APC spoke on Electrical Machines.
o The industrial drives and process control industry. We will actively engage through the IET Professional Network on Power Electronics, Machines and Drives and through our existing links
Developing a fruitful collaboration in the North East of the UK; producing a resilient nation by enriching local communities and business and engaging with the 'Driving the Electric Revolution" initiative.
Aiding transformation of the UK to a sustainable society with a more efficient use of energy and materials.
Contributing to a Healthy Nation by supporting national efforts to hit climate change and clean air targets.
Outreach activities into schools, leading initiatives such as Greenpower and via participation in the APC.
Creating advantages to the consumer, through lighter, more efficient and higher performance products all achieved in a more cost effective manner.
Significant environmental advantages, contributing to a resilient nation by: managing resources more efficiently and sustainably; reducing emissions, contributing to carbon neutral targets much earlier than expected; reducing usage of rare earth metals via innovation in manufacture and improving recyclability


The Partners already have a strong track record in skills growth, with over twenty of Newcastle's most promising graduate electrical engineers now hold staff positions in Dyson, from Director down through senior managers to senior design and research engineers. UK wide skills will be Impacted by:
Giving Dyson staff the opportunity to spend time seconded to the project.
Encouraging all relevant Dyson staff to attend any of the university's specialist taught modules and take part in research forums and internal seminars. They will also be encouraged to deliver material to our taught course and research

Publications

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