Federal Ministry


The named scientific works are funded by the following establishments:

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMWi)
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Ministerium für Innovation, Wissenschaft und Forschung des Landes NRW (NRW)

Logo Logo

Selected scientific works:
  • Methcar - " Joint project: MethCar - Methane engines for passenger cars
    Subproject: Injector robustness and exhaust gas catalysis as a function of fuel composition"
  • C3-Mobility - "Closed Carbon Cycle – Mobility: Climate neutral fuels for traffic of the future"
  • Leimot - "Lightweight-Engine: Weight reduction of an internal combustion engine by utilizing a purposefully structural optimization and using metal- plastic hybrid components"
  • X-EMU - "Development and Validation of a High-Performance Fuel Cell Propulsion System for Hybrid EMU railcars in a Modular Traction Design System"
  • P2X Kopernikus - "Erforschung, Validierung und Implementierung von Power-to-X Konzepten"
  • XME-Diesel - "(Bio-)Methylether als alternative Kraftstoffe in bivalenten Diesel-Brennverfahren"
  • VARIMOT - "Variable Systeme zur Effizienzsteigerung bei Ottomotoren mit kleinem Hubvolumen"
  • GreenREx-BETRIEB - "Betriebsstrategie Range Extender Fahrzeug"
  • Anfahrt - "Alternative Nutzfahrzeugantriebe für LKW und BUS „Sauberer energieeffizienter Straßentransport“
  • BREEZE – "Brennstoffzellen-Range-Extender für Elektrofahrzeuge: Zero Emission!"
  • TEAM - "Entwicklung von Technologien für energiesparende Antriebe mobiler Arbeitsmaschinen"
  • Europa Hybrid PlugIn - "Entwicklung eines elektrischen Antriebs für ein rückspeisefähiges PlugIn-Hybridfahrzeug mit optimiertem Batteriemanagement und niedrigem Verbrauch"


  Logo MethQuest
Title Joint project: MethCar - Methane engines for passenger cars
Subproject: Injector robustness and exhaust gas catalysis as a function of fuel composition
Acronym MethCar
Funding Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Projektnumber 19/18010 G

The MethCar project is one of six collaborative projects within the lead project MethQuest, in which science and industry partners develop and analyze technologies, by which methane-based fuels from renewable sources can be obtained and used in mobile and stationary applications.

Methane from Power-to-Gas processes offers numerous advantages over other Power-to-X options: The manufacturing processes are less complex and show significantly higher efficiencies. This has a positive effect on production costs. A further advantage is the problem-free, successive replacement of fossil natural gas by compressed or liquefied methane from renewable energies (EE Methane).

The task of the joint MethCar project is to develop a novel passenger car gas engine concept using EE-C Methane. The special properties of compressed EE Methane promise a particularly high efficiency in a specifically adapted passenger car engine.

The institute of Internal Combustion Engines at the RWTH Aachen University (VKA) carries out scientific, experimental investigations on test engines, using EE-C methane with different fuel compositions (H2, Sulphur, compressor oil) within the framework of the MethCar network. The focus lies on the evaluation of the durability of direct injection systems and the functionality of catalytic converters.

Period 09/2018 - 08/2021


  Logo C3-Mobility
Title Closed Carbon Cycle – Mobility: Climate neutral fuels for traffic of the future
Acronym C³ - Mobility
Funding Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Projektnumber 19I18006P

The joint project aims to develop and demonstrate new ways into the CO2-neutral mobility of the future. It refers to the BMWi's funding announcement "Energy Turnaround in Transport: Sector Coupling through the Use of Electricity-Based Fuels" of spring 2017. To this end, a comprehensive consortium of 28 partners from all the areas addressed in the announcement has formed in order to be able to adequately deal with the problem described in its entirety.

The most effective way to transport, store and use large amounts of energy in transport is by using liquid energy sources. In the future, the use of regenerative produced fuel based on methanol appears to be the most sensible option. In addition to its direct use as a fuel, its (local) further processing will also be investigated. Furthermore, approaches will be presented to reduce fleet emissions already today by adding stream-based fuels (drop-in fuel). To this end, MtG (methanol-to-gasoline) will be produced in a demonstration plant and its use in gasoline engines will be shown. In the diesel engine, 1-octanol is available as drop-in fuel. For future applications, 2-butanol will continue to be considered as drop-in fuel, octane booster and pure fuel for gasoline engines as well as OME/DME under consideration of the multi-fuel capability for diesel engines.

The vehicle suitability of the new fuels is to be validated under real driving conditions; their efficiency and environmental compatibility are to be assessed as a whole in the production and consumption chains as well as in sales and market launch.
Period 08/2018 - 07/2021


  Logo Leimot

Lightweight-Engine: Weight reduction of an internal combustion engine by utilizing a purposefully structural optimization and using metal- plastic hybrid components

Acronym LeiMot

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)




The objective of the project “LeiMot” is the development of an internal combustion engine with a reduced overall weight while improving efficiency, operational behavior, thermal management and NVH.

New design, dimensioning, and manufacturing processes will take a higher stake in the prospective product development. Therefore, it is a goal to examine the utilization of potentials of those procedures for future combustion engines. With today’s conventional manufacturing processes (e.g. casting), there are no further big development leaps to expect in the midterm.

The projects approach is to design and develop engine components without restrictions like cores or demolding, which are usually the hard limits for the layout of parts like the crank case or cylinder head.

These goals shall be achieved by using selective laser melting (SLM) respectively laser powderbed fusion (LPBF) for metallic engine components alongside high performance fiber reinforced plastics. The intelligent use of those new processes targets the raise of the starting level for future combustion engine developments.


07/2018 – 06/2021





Development and Validation of a High-Performance Fuel Cell Propulsion System for Hybrid EMU railcars in a Modular Traction Design System

Acronym X-EMU
Funding Federal Ministry for Traffic and Digital Infrastructure
Projectnumber 03B10502

The X-EMU project faces the challenge of efficient and environmentally friendly railroad traffic on non-electrified sections. On various railroad sections the installation of catenaries is neither economical nor ecological resulting in Diesel systems as current state of the art for transportation and especially commuter trains. An electrical multiple unit (EMU) could electrify these sections and replace several Diesel systems. The X-EMU will form a special unit operated with a hybrid system of a battery electric powertrain and a fuel cell system. The system setup and particularly the operation strategy will be researched and optimized at RWTH Aachen University‘s Center for Mobile Propulsion by VKA, IEM and ISEA researchers.

In order to reach this goal, further understanding of the components and their interaction in the overall system are elaborated. For this purpose, a universally usable Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) test environment is being developed, in which real components as well as their models can be integrated, evaluated and advanced. The universal research findings will be transferred to the development of a modular, scalable modular traction design including a fuel cell, which will be integrated in the Siemens train platform Mireo® as first use case. The system design is highly flexible to offer various technological solutions and operation strategies with regard to customer-specific boundary conditions (route-specific, infrastructural, operational).

Period 10/2017 - 09/2019


Title Oxymethylenether: Fuels and polymers based on CO2 and hydrogen
Acronym „Power to X“ FC-B3
Funding Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)



Within the Kopernikus project "Power to X", the cluster FC-B3 considers production and application aspects of oxymethylenether as a fuel and polymer. The interface to the other subprojects within "Power to X" is the use of hydrogen generated by renewable energy sources as well as carbon dioxide from various sources, e.g. industrial processes or power stations. The interdisciplinary research addresses the development of novel catalysts and processes as well as the evaluation of the synthetic's fuels potential, considering kinetic, single-cylinder, full-engine, and vehicle investigations.

The technical research is accompanied by a lifecycle and acceptance analysis to assess the technology’s impact on environment and society in early stages of development.

Period 09/2016 - 08/2019



xME-Diesel – (Bio-) Methyl ethers as alternative fuels for the bivalent Diesel operation



Funding Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Federal Ministry for Education and Research

19U15007C PT


Within the research project "xME", Diesel (Bio-) Methyl ethers for compression ignition engines are investigated in cooperation with the LVK of the TU Munich, DENSO Automotive Germany, IAV, and the Ford Research and Innovation Center. These fuels can be produced from regenerative electricity in combination with a carbon source, e.g. CO2 or biomass. Goal of the project is to build two demonstrator vehicles, one operating on dimethyl ether (DME) and one on dimethoxymethane (OME). The task of VKA is to characterize both fuels extensively in a single cylinder research engine and assess their emission reduction potential. Thereafter, the combustion system will be optimized for the bivalent operation of DME and Diesel by means of CFD. The final optimized combustion system will then be utilized in the demonstrator vehicle.


05/2015 - 05/2018





Variable systems to increase the efficiency of gasoline engines with small displacement

Funding Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Projectnumber 19U15011E

In the medium term, the combustion engine will continue being the dominant drive train despite the increasing electrification. Thus, an overall optimization of the combustion engine is an important and useful measure for reducing CO2 emissions. The goal of VARIMOT is to develop an intelligently built motor concept for the lower middle class (1250 kg) that is based on principally known technologies. Hereby, a consumption of 95 g/km within the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) shall be proven. This corresponds to a reduction of 15% relating to engines in this vehicle class.

In VARIMOT, the following components / systems are optimized: the engine with its charge cycle and combustion process, the turbocharging system with control, a variable compression with control, and a variable valve-gear with control. The challenge of this project is the overall view and tuning including an economically acceptable implementation.

The project was chosen within the funding announcement “energy efficient drive trains”.

Period 06/2015 - 11/2017



Development of a bio-gas-powered Range Extender

Homepage GreenREX
Funding Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Projectnumber 01MY13001F

The development of a solely renewably driven lightweight vehicle is the goal of the publicly funded joint project “GreenREX”. The project consortium, consisting of the Fraunhofer ICT, the KSPG AG, the KIT – wbk institute for projection technology, the StreetScooter GmbH, the FEV GmbH, and the institute for combustion engines (VKA) of the RWTH Aachen University jointly develop and test a renewably driven electro vehicle with a Range Extender for biogas operation. Basis of this development is the V2-Range Extender that was developed by KSPG and FEV. Its everyday suitability will be proven by the project partners with a vehicle that is provided by StreetScooter.

Period 01/2014 - 12/2016



Alternative Commercial Vehicle Powertrains for Trucks and Busses


Alternative commercial vehicle drive trains for trucks and busses – clean and energy efficient road transportation

Funding Ministerium für Innovation, Wissenschaft und Forschung NRW
Projectnumber 321-

Within the framework of the project ‘‘ANFAHRT’’, the Institute for Combustion Engines (VKA) cooperates with Institute for Technical Combustion (ITV) from RWTH Aachen University and Faculty of Energy Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering as well as Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology from FH Aachen to develop innovative alternative drive systems for commercial vehicles. The research scope extends from the basic topic of the components and their interactions within the powertrain systems to the vehicle behavior and the fleet operation.

Period 01/2013 - 12/2016





BREEZE! Fuel Cell Range Extender for Electric Vehicles: Zero Emission!



Funding Ziel2NRW
Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)



The main advantages of battery electric vehicles (BEV) are driving without local emissions and high tank-to-wheel efficiency. Because of cost, weight, and packaging reasons, the electric range and the recharging time of BEV is an issue. Even with pioneering battery-technologies, high ranges and fast charging will not be economically feasible in the medium term. As a consequence of this, the project focuses on the development and integration of a 30 kW Fuel Cell Range Extender Module, which increases the range of BEV significantly and enables highly efficient driving without emissions and with minimal noise. Additionally, the Range-Extender-Module improves the battery lifetime by avoiding deep-discharge. Furthermore, the overall range of the BEV can be increased by using the waste heat of the fuel cell for cabin-heating.

The fuel cell system, which is especially designed for a BEV of the subcompact class, can also be used in other applications like materials handling, UPS, and grid-independent systems because of its compact design and its high level of component integration.


07/2011 - 07/2015



Development of technologies for energy efficient drive trains of mobile power engines

Homepage TEAM

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Projectnumber 02PJ2245

Analyses show that with new technologies, there is a potential of reducing 20 to 40% of energy and pollutants. Efficient drive technologies, which partly already exist as functional models for mobile work machines, contribute to this. A consequent and machine specific merger of these technologies, the practical test, and a comparative assessment has not yet been carried out. Additionally, the development in the automotive-sector is promising, for example the fast rotating electric drive or optimized combustion engines.

Period 02/2012 - 01/2015