With emission control norms getting rigorous all over the world, the automotive sector is now facing the challenge of producing zero-emission vehicles which are affordable too. It calls for a re-look at engine management, according to Thalavai Venkatesan, general manager, engine systems engineering, Continental Automotive Components (India) Pvt.Ltd, Bangalore.

He was delivering a speech at the inauguration of the 15-day Staff Development Programme on “Engine electronics and alternate fuels,” sponsored by the All India Council for Technical Education, and organised under the aegis of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Annamalai University, at Chidambaram on Monday.

Mr. Venkatesan said that engine care was no more the exclusive domain of the mechanical engineers. The quality of combustion had direct impact on the level of exhaust and therefore engine management had come to get increased focus.

With electronics coming to occupy a major role in driving the engine and controlling its performance, the hybrid technology termed “mechatronics” had assumed great importance in the automotive sector.

Though “mechatronics” as a subject was not popular, its application in vehicle manufacturing was getting accentuated, Mr. Venkatesan said.

According to G.Muralidharan of Anna University (a visiting faculty in mechatronics), the electronically controlled engine and other automobile systems led to improved fuel economy, reduced pollution, improved driving safety and reduced manufacturing cost.

B.Palaniappan, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Annamalai University, categorically said that the mechanical department was a pioneer in tapping the solar energy because it firmly believed that only it could solve the power crisis.

All research endeavours in harnessing renewable energy and validating alternate fuels should ensure that these were economically, technically and socially feasible and relevant.

Therefore, Mr. Palaniappan said that the university had been propagating and patronising inter-disciplinary approach in this regard. And to make research works purposive, Annamalai University that had become part of the National Knowledge Network, had been promoting technology enhanced learning.

N.Krishnamohan, Professor and Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, said because of the intensified research works taken up by his department the number of Ph.Ds it produced would soon double from 10 to 20.

Ethanol usage norms

C.G.Saravanan, Professor, Mechanical Department, said that electronics and alternate fuels were important for achieving the emission characteristics. Brazil had taken measures to enhance the ethanol usage norms from E-65 (a mix of 65 per cent of ethanol and 35 per cent fossil fuel) to E-95, whereas India was contemplating to raise the norms from E-5 to E-10.

Mr. Saravanan said that industrial visits would also form part of the fortnightly programme in which experts from all over the country participate.

A.P.Sathiyagnanam, coordinator of the programme, also spoke.

On the occasion, Mr. Palaniappan released the hard copy of the proceedings, while Mr. Venkatesan released the soft copy of the same.