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Energy use in engines and vehicles


The focus of our competence is on efforts for reducing energy use and its negative impact on transport and traffic. We cover the entire chain from fuels and engines to various emission control technologies. We deal with the complex interactions between fuels, engines, vehicles, emissions, and energy supply. Assessments of total fuel pathways and energy chains from well-to-wheel are also covered.

Large medium-speed engines for power plant and marine applications also belong in our research portfolio.


Essential measures in the transport and logistics of the future are:
• Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
• Promoting the deployment of alternative fuels
• Widening the energy base and increasing the use of renewable energy, in view of securing sustainability

In addition, the usability of these solutions in cold climate conditions typical for Finland needs to be assessed before they are widely implemented.

Determining only regulated emissions is also not enough when the performance of new fuels, engines, or emission control devices needs to be assessed. Therefore, our portfolio of exhaust emissions measurements include a wide variety of methods and specialised analysers for on-line determination of several non-regulated species in exhaust gas, as well as the classification of particulate emissions by size.

For both power plant and marine applications, reducing particulate emissions and maintaining good performance are important, and different fuel alternatives are offered, including biofuels.


We provide comprehensive research facilities and versatile equipment to measure energy use and emissions in engines or complete vehicles simulating real-world duty cycles, both on-road and non-road applications. In our heavy-duty dynamometer, transient driving can be simulated up to 60 tonnes of gross vehicle weight. Similar provisions for passenger cars are also available, including climatic control of the testing environment to simulate cold ambient driving conditions.

Several non-regulated exhaust species can be detected, e.g., with sampling and chromatographic analysis or on-line. Also available are particulate mass measurements and sizing by number and mass.


The possibility to work with complete vehicles and accurately simulate real-life duty cycles opens up excellent possibilities to determine specific emissions and energy use reflecting actual in-use conditions. Development of emission control systems and reducing energy use is also more accurate, taking into consideration not only engine-related aspects but also the complete driveline and vehicle characteristics. Furthermore, running tests with complete vehicles is easier and more cost-effective than testing stand-alone engines, especially if in-use vehicles are involved.

Our 1.5 MW Wärtsilä Vasa 4R32 medium-speed power plant set-up is well-suited for running various fuel alternatives and provides an excellent and well-controlled testing environment for different emission reduction systems. Medium speed engine research infrastructure renewal is going on under the Cleen Oy research program “Future Combustion Engine Power Plant”.

References and merits

We have ongoing research in reducing energy use and emissions in heavy vehicles for both truck and bus operators, as well as for fuel industry and manufacturers of emission control systems. The TransEco research programme (2009-2013) develops, demonstrates and commercialises technology for improved energy efficiency and reduced emissions in road transport. The programme  serves as a framework for integrated evaluation and development of new technology and policies for the road transport sector.

Our contribution to national research integrates “HD-ENERGIA” (2003-2005) and “RASTU” (2006-2008) has been recognised as instrumental, and we have been able to find the means to increase the energy efficiency of heavy vehicles and ensure their safe operation. Many of these have already been implemented by our clients. At present VTT coordinates large national-level research programme “TRANSECO”, which deals with energy efficiency and renewable energy in transport. It is based on public-private partnership type of funding, and is supported by VTT as an innovation programme.

The teams are internationally networked with research institutes and several international organisations linked to alternative fuels (IEA AMF). Close cooperation with the national public sector officials and agencies and several NGO’s is also ongoing.

Additional information

Nils-Olof Nylund
Research Professor
+358 20 722 5518

Matti Kytö
Principal Scientist
+358 20 722 5513

Juhani Laurikko
Principal Scientist
+358 20 722 5463

Raimo Turunen
Principal Scientist
+358 20 722 5632