Powertrain Research Centre

The Powertrain Research Centre (PRC) is internationally renowned for close collaboration with the automotive industry on multiple aspects of automotive propulsion, with recent and on-going collaborations with major OEMs (JLR, Tata, Ford, Caterpillar), energy companies (Shell, BP), Tier 1s (MAHLE, GKN, Denso) and numerous SMEs.

Our work covers both light and heavy duty applications (transport and power generation). We are interested in multiple aspects of thermofluids in vehicle propulsion, from fundamental experimental and analytical studies of advanced fuels and combustion through to novel integrated thermal management in electrified vehicles.


Powertrain Research Centre

Potgraduate students and researchers working in the Engine Research Group laboratory, University Park.

The PRC is led by Professor Alasdair Cairns, who has over 20 years’ experience within the automotive industry and academia. Dr Antonino LaRocca is an Associate Professor in the PRC, with over 15 years’ experience in advanced powertrain technologies. The centre also includes a team of highly experienced and dedicated technicians. The laboratories have recently undergone major refurbishment, with access to advanced optical and thermodynamic single cylinders, multi-cylinder and transient dynamometers (up to 460kW) as well as various bespoke test rigs and simulation software. We welcome direct enquiries on all related areas.

Key aims and expertise

  • Performance and operation of engines during cold-start/warm-up
  • Cold-engine friction characteristics
  • Control of emissions to within limits permitted by European and other International standards
  • Development of the new low carbon engine technologies
  • Development of computer aided engineering tools based on computational and analytical models
  • Optical analysis of combustion characteristics


Powertrain Research Centre

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD