Research course

Advanced Powertrain and Fuels

Brunel University, London · Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering

Entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree and additionally, for a PhD, a Master’s degree or equivalent. All international students must show evidence that they meet the English requirement for their course of study: IELTS 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in any section). This applies even if English is the native language of your home country. An appropriate level of English language competence is also expected as listed below. Applicants may also be required to attend compulsory in-sessional English language support. The Senate reserves the right to assess the eligibility of applicants on an individual basis. Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

Months of entry

January, December, November, October, August, July, June, May, April, March, February

Course content

Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. A PhD involves demonstrating through original research or other advanced scholarship the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of an academic discipline or professional practice, the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the general of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline.
Both full-time (3 years) and part-time (6 years) study routes are available.
MPhil option
Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. An MPhil involves the exploration of a research topic and is typically studied over a shorter period of 1 year for a full-time student and 2 years for a part-time student. MPhil students are required to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights informed by the forefront of their discipline, field of study or professional practice.
Research profile
In the Advanced Powertrain and Fuels theme, we have particular strengths in improving the efficiency and reducing emissions of existing engines through developing advanced combustion processes and their controls and boosting technologies. We are equipped with the most advanced camless and direct injection research engines, as well as state-of-art laser and optical equipment for the study of fuels and engines: in particular marrying experimental and modelling methods and through the utilisation of advanced laser measurement techniques in transparent optical engines . The research on regenerative engine braking is feeding strongly into our commercialisation activities. We have particular interests in developing efficient bio-fuel supply chains, as well as a number of novel technologies for manufacturing bio-fuel from industrial waste and new combustion technologies optimised for bio-fuels.
As one of the largest and most active engine research groups in U.K., our research on internal combustion engines goes back to the late 1960s and involves 7 full-time members of academic staff, 25 PhD and RAs.
The faculty working on Advanced Powertrain and Fuels at Brunel have been recognised for their outstanding skills. In 2015, Prof Zhao was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, joining other distinguished academics from renowned research institutions and technologists from world-leading engineering companies. Hua was honoured for his fundamental and applied research into novel engine combustion concepts, air hybrid engine and vehicle technologies, and advanced laser diagnostics for the development of high efficiency and ultra-low emission powertrains for the automotive industry.
While we welcome all multidisciplinary topics in the area of Advanced Powertrain and Fuels, here is a list of potential research areas we would like to supervise. For details of these and other potential topics please visit our Doctoral Opportunities webpage:
  • Prof. Hua Zhao: gasoline engine, diesel engines, laser diagnostics, spray and combustion studies, bio-fuels, air hybrid/energy recovery, variable valve actuation
  • Prof. Thanos Megaritis: fuel reforming, particulate filter, NOx aftertreatment
  • Prof. Alasdair Cairns: gasoline engine, knocking combustion, engine downsizing, dual fuel engines
  • Dr Lionel Ganippa: diesel engines, bio-diesel, fuel spray and injection, diesel emissions
  • Dr Jun Xia: CFD and LES of sprays and combustion flows
  • Dr Apostolos Pesiridis: boosting technologies, turbocharger design, exhaust heat recovery.
Find out more:

Information for international students

English Language Requirements: IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas); Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores); BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas).

Fees and funding

UK students
Full time: £4,121 Part time: £2,060
International students
Full time: £17,200 Part time: £8,600

Qualification and course duration


part time
72 months
full time
36 months

Course contact details

College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences
+44 (0)1895 266876