More power, better reliability – low carbon technology solutions for a greener, cleaner, efficient, and lower cost transportation system

The Future of Mobility Grand Challenge aims to make travel safer, better connected and more efficient. The Prime Minister has announced that all new cars and vans will become zero emission vehicles by 2040. Technology has a major role to play in realising this ambition. The major challenge facing us is how to significantly improve energy storage and overcome the challenges of space, weight, efficiency and the number of hours of uninterrupted supply before recharging. My work tackles these challenges head on and through the invention of exotic nano materials I have developed a novel energy storage solution which outperforms the current technology. It makes the energy storage compact, lightweight, super-efficient and has a significantly enhanced storage capacity.  Light weight enhances overall efficiency and reduces energy waste, longer hours of efficient energy supply will contribute to reducing or even eliminating charging cycles in turn huge time savings.

There is also the problem of deterioration through wear and tear and the substantial level of energy wasted which can’t be utilised. Currently one third of useful energy is wasted through frictional losses in the interacting components applied in automotive, locomotive, precision manufacturing, steam turbines, complex machines and aerospace applications. These frictional losses also lead to wear and greatly affect the integrity of interacting components leading to problems with reliability and breakdown. To reduce these losses we redesign the interacting components for each mode of transportation by improving the surfaces at nano scale precision and quality. The enhanced surfaces of the nano materials will significantly reduce wear and friction, decreasing the level of energy wasted and reducing breakdown. It’s a win win scenario - we can have more efficient vehicles which also cost less to maintain.

Why the contribution is important

Utilising my nano technology and enhanced energy storage means all types of vehicles will run more efficiently, for longer, and reduce costs overall.

Lightweight storage will reduce total weight - weight is critical for automotive and aerospace – so energy use is reduced.

Novel energy storage provides longer pre-charge hours the transport can operate for, significantly cutting costs, environmental impact, down time and inconvenience. Public vehicles can be utilised more frequently so the volume of vehicles needed to be purchased is less. Fewer vehicles need less staff to oversee them and reduce congestion on the roads. Lower staff costs make transport cheaper for the public. The cost savings and positive public effects ripple outwards, society benefits.

Combining the above with nano enhanced surfaces for the interacting components will reduce the frictional losses and reduce the energy wastage. Combining such innovative design solutions for interacting surfaces with efficient and enhanced energy storage applied across all modes of transportation will achieve maximum energy efficiency, low costs, and a greener, healthier environment for the future generations to come.

Zulfiqar Khan

Professor of Design, Engineering and Computing

Specialist within the field of Specialist within the field of nano coating, condition monitoring, nano application technology, anti-aging/corrosion and interacting systems, low carbon energy technology

Read more about my work here

by zkhan on June 29, 2018 at 03:35PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.9
Based on: 19 votes


  • Posted by jawwad July 01, 2018 at 10:27

    The friction and wear has hug impact on energy consumption, costs and emissions, the idea of making vehicles more efficient by reducing frictional loss and energy waste is a great step forward in achieving zero emission vehicles by 2040 and also to make travel more safer and cost effective.
  • Posted by Ghafoorabdul July 01, 2018 at 14:01

    Target of 2040 for zero emission is challenging but doable. With research on tribology with an objective to reduce friction it is foreseeable. Work of Prof Khan at Bournemouth University is highly focused for zero friction. We are also working for developing tribology instruments in our Advance Research Lab (ARL) at School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (SMME), NUST.
  • Posted by adilsaeed July 01, 2018 at 21:32

    This is a great proposal, which provides an insight into how technology can be used to minimise wear and enhance performance by reducing friction and energy wastage.
  • Posted by Laurakzai July 02, 2018 at 11:59

    Utilising low-carbon and clean technology are vital for UK economy in the future. Such initiatives will enable UK to lead the World in the design, development and manufacture of greener and efficient transport systems.
  • Posted by ALazar July 04, 2018 at 13:50

    New energy storage solutions using renewable resources are vital for the future of the planet. And advances in tribology reducing friction will save money, resources and time. Professor Khan's work could potentially revolutionise transport, avoiding the need for reliance on fossil fuels and rare earths for energy storage.
  • Posted by skosarieh July 06, 2018 at 11:43

    Sounds like an interesting proposal. Obviously demand for fuel economy and an strict emission legislation requires new surface engineering technologies. Application of Nano-technology in enhancing surface interactions and more efficient and improved triological performance is key.
  • Posted by abdullah July 09, 2018 at 15:17

    Application of thin coatings will significantly yield economical and ecological savings. Moreover, enhanced surface properties owing to nano coatings will reduce mechanical losses.
  • Posted by JuliaDftGovUK July 20, 2018 at 08:48

    Hello Professor, thank you for your exciting contribution! This kind of innovative research and design is just the kind of thing that can help us achieve our ambitions for the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge.
  • Posted by zkhan July 22, 2018 at 13:05

    Dear Julia,
    Thanks for your comments and happy to take these ideas forward with interested parties/collaborators for shapping Brittain's future as a world leader in this area.
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