TNO research on powertrains

Modern means of transport, from passenger cars to heavy-duty road and waterborne transport have to meet increasingly strict emission regulations and greenhouse gas targets.

These future challenges will be met with a range of increasingly complex powertrain technologies. For heavy-duty trucks, an example of a solution could be a combination of:

  • Low-carbon sustainable fuels such as biofuels and hydrogen,
  • Novel high-efficient combustion engine concepts (e.g. RCCI),
  • Varying degrees of electrification and hybridization,
  • Fuel Cell applications,
  • And exhaust aftertreatment.

Finally, an integrated development approach is necessary to maximize the overall system efficiency. In order to reduce the system development effort TNO has developed an unique methodology based on a combination of state-of-the-art testing facilities and virtual development.

First, the real system is captured by a representative mathematical model based on TNO’s component library. What is unique is that all of our models are physics-based and validated in our own facilities. They are fully predictive and scalable, control oriented and can be implemented in real-time.

Each component model is provided with a dedicated fit-tool enabling an easy, systematic calibration for your specific application. Furthermore, the validated models are used to develop controls.

At TNO, we develop control strategies for:

  • SCR dosing,
  • flex-fuel engine,
  • battery management systems,
  • and predictive energy management.

Our solutions can be implemented directly on your programmable controller to maximize performance online, in real-world operating conditions. Before implementation on a real object, TNO’s virtual testing environment allows time- and cost-efficient verification of control functionality performance and robustness.

The control unit is tested in a hardware-in-the-loop environment using state-of-the-art rapid prototyping tools. The system components and the environment are simulated while the control algorithm runs in real-time.

Before going on the road, TNO provides ultimate system validation. This is performed on our state-of-the-art experimental facilities:

  • Unique Climatic Altitude Chamber for Engines vehicle testing at temperatures from –45 to +55 ºC and up to an altitude of 4000m
  • 4 transient engine test benches equipped with Extensive state-of-the art measurement equipment for emissions and GHG: NOx, NO, CO, THC, CO2, O2 (CH4, EGR CO2)
  • Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS) for real world measurements
  • Automated test benches for battery cell, module, pack and vehicle testing with thermal conditioning
  • Extensive fuel infrastructure for liquid (diesel, petrol) and gaseous types (LPG,NG) as well as biofuels
  • Fuel Cell test and validation facilities (under development)
  • Fully configurable Truck- and Car-Labs (combustion, hybrid, fuel cell) for real-world on-road experiments

TNO Powertrains has a strong international track record for different applications from passenger cars to heavy-duty road and waterborne transport. This makes us the ideal applied knowledge partner in innovative solutions for tomorrow’s challenges.


Research on integrated vehicle safety

TNO is recognized by OEMs and TIERs all over the world as a valuable knowledge partner with unique expertise, tools and facilities. The activities within the research department Integrated Vehicle Safety... Read more

Expertise groups

Oscar Zoeteweij, MBA