Dr. Zhu focuses on improving fuel economy with reduced emissions using in-the-loop advanced control

Increasing concerns about global climate change and ever increasing demands on fossil fuel capacity call for improved fuel economy of automotive engines with reduced emissions. With many biofuel applications on the near horizon, the next generation of automotive engines will be required to operate with multiple fuels. The engine combustion process will have to be optimized to maximize thermal efficiency with improved emissions under different fuel blends and combustion modes. To meet this challenge, advanced engine control will be needed to automatically adapt to the fuel blend and combustion mode. The research conducted at Guoming (George) Zhu’s automotive control lab uses model-based control techniques to accurately control engine fuel injection timing and mass, charge mixture temperature and composition, and to control the valve train and other engine subsystems. Control-oriented engine models are being developed and implemented in the lab in a hardware-in-the-loop simulation environment to support model-based control development and validation. Dr. Zhu is also conducting research in areas of integrated identification and control of automotive systems, optimal control of hybrid powertrain systems, combustion mode transition control, and applications of smart materials to automotive systems, linear parameter varying (LPV) control with application to structural systems. Active control of the automotive engine and its subsystems is an essential foundation needed to make new engine technologies possible. Research at MSU ranges from new control concept development to validation and demonstration.