Tag: automotive industry

Rev Up Your ICE Knowledge With New Program From MTU and USCAR

A diesel engine, one type of ICE or internal combustion engine.

Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs) Are Definitely Sticking Around.

Very Important Note: The author constructed this blog with the helpful, substantive input and the important, factual content (and snappy title) from these two Michigan Tech staff, writers, and people: Kimberley Geiger, director of Communications for the College of Engineering; and Donna Jeno-Amici, coordinator of Research and Marketing at the Department of Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Discover the Latest Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) Breakthroughs.

Michigan Tech is proud to announce an expansion of graduate-level course offerings in the specialized area of internal combustion engines (ICE). These courses will be available on campus at Michigan Tech, as well as online at MTU Global Campus.

Students can enroll in these courses individually if they require expertise in a certain ICE area. Or they can take several to create a graduate certificate that provides more advanced, specialized knowledge in internal combustion engines. Currently, the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics is developing a 15-course ICE graduate certificate. Alternatively, those interested may pursue an MS in Mechanical Engineering with a focus area on ICE.

And as with all graduate programs, the online application is free. And no GRE is required.

Enroll in Summer Classes.

Wasting no time, the ME-EM department is offering these courses right away. In fact, there are a few graduate-level offerings on deck for Summer 2024 and one brand-new course for Fall 2024.

Summer 2024 Courses

  • SI Engine Fundamentals (MEEM 5201): June 19-21, 2024, lab course
  • SI Engine Controls (MEEM 5203): July 10-12, 2024, lab course
  • Online Thermodynamics Refresher (MEEM 3990): June 10 – Aug. 8, 2024

New Offering for Fall 2024

  • Thermodynamics for Engine Systems (MEEM 5990) is available, along with our existing courses.

These courses could fill soon, so we recommend that you contact Jeff Naber at jnaber@mtu.edu for more information.

Learn From ICE Industry Experts.

These courses have been developed in collaboration with Dr. Andrea Strzelec, Sr. Research Scientist at USCAR. Strzelec, FSAE, holds a Ph.D. in Combustion Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Engine Research Center. She specializes in transportation and fuels, as well as engine research. Formerly the program director of Masters of Engineering in Engine Systems at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering, Strzelec is lending her substantial expertise to Michigan Tech to launch this new engines-focused program.

USCAR, the United States Council for Automotive Research, is an umbrella organization facilitating pre-competitive research and development collaboration for Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Stellantis. Its main objective is strengthening the U.S. auto industry’s technology base. It does so by promoting cooperative research efforts, reducing costs, supporting regulatory compliance, and accelerating the development of advanced technologies. Another of USCAR’s goals is keeping the U.S. automotive industry globally competitive.

This new graduate program will not only provide Michigan Tech students with both foundational and specialized ICE knowledge and skills, but also prepare them for advances in the US automotive industry.

Acquire Practical ICE Expertise and Skills.

Despite the move towards electrification and advances in battery technology, the world still needs internal combustion engines. For those unfamiliar with the technology, ICEs generate power by burning fuel inside a confined space (combustion chamber). The combustion process then releases energy, which is converted into mechanical work to move a vehicle or operate machinery. These engines generally run on gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and biofuels.

ICEs are known for their low cost, broad availability, durability, and high performance. They also have a rich research and development history. That is, ICEs have been improved and refined over several years. Besides working on lowering emissions and increasing fuel efficiency, researchers and engineers have made advances in engine design, control systems, and fuel compatibility.

Most importantly, these engines reliably provide high power and torque, features especially important in military, industrial, and other heavy-duty applications. The US military, in fact, uses diesel engines (one type of ICE) in nearly all of its ground vehicles because diesel fuel is less flammable and has a high energy density.

Furthermore, IC engines still feature prominently in automobiles, marine vessels, and aircraft. They also power a lot of portable equipment (lawn mowers, chainsaws) as well as some standby generators. And many hybrid vehicles still use ICEs in conjunction with electric motors, leveraging the benefits of both technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

For instance, take the new Formula 1 proposed post-2026 regulations. Along with cars that are 30% lighter as well as more aerodynamic and agile, FIA is proposing a power unit redesign that is “an even split between internal combustion engine and electric power plus the use of 100% sustainable fuels.” That is, even a plan for the sustainable future of elite race car driving involves ICEs.

Reach Out About the New ICE Program.

In short, for several applications, ICEs are likely to remain relevant for the foreseeable future.

For additional details on these courses and the new ICE graduate programs from ME-EM, please contact

To learn about all MS online programs, please visit MTU Global Campus.

APS LABS Offering Short Non-credit Courses on Diesel Engines

Diesel Engine Controls: just one of the topics explored in APS LABS professional development courses.

Diesel engines play a significant role in Automotive, Off-Highway, and Industrial
applications, and they continue to evolve with increasingly stringent emissions
and fuel economy standards. Understanding their operation and control are
critical skills that are in high demand.

Dr. Daniel Madison
OEM Diesel Engine Performance Development Superviso Expert

Driving the American Economy

Despite the automotive industry’s increasing investment in battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and the public’s demand for them, there is a still a need for diesel engines. Why? These engines are still found in light-duty vehicles, medium and heavy-duty trucks and in commercial vehicles (trains, trucks, buses, barges, and boats). The US military, in fact, uses diesel in nearly all of its ground vehicles because this fuel is less flammable and has a high energy density. And, of course, many industrial facilities (not to mention remote towns) rely on diesel engine generators as their backup or even primary sources of electricity.

Most obviously, diesel engines power the vehicles that transport the plethora of products we consume. They also keep farming, construction, and mining equipment moving. In short, diesel fuel has been and will remain important to the American economy. So engineers must continue to learn not only how diesel engines work but also how to improve them.

A Diesel Engine

Diesel Fast Facts

Improving Diesel Engines

Compared to other types of internal combustion engines (ICEs), in fact, diesel engines have superior durability and efficiency. That is, by some estimates, diesel engines are anywhere from 20-35% more economic and cost-effective than gasoline engines. To put this fact in perspective, if a gasoline engine gets 40 mpg, its diesel equivalent would get you 48 to 54 mpg. For huge vehicles, these numbers certainly matter.

And thankfully, diesel fuel has also come a long way. Prior to 2006, most US diesel fuel had high qualities of sulfur. Currently, most of this fuel sold in the US qualifies as ULSD (ultra-low sulfur density), which means it has 15 sulfur parts per million. And then there is the diesel fuel made from both petroleum and biomass sources.

But diesel fuel, because it is often expended in large amounts, still produces emissions. And when it comes to climate change, reducing carbon emissions requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. This approach will involve improving all power systems, such as striving to make even cleaner, more efficient diesel engines.

Without the low operating costs, high efficiency, high reliability, and great durability of diesel engines, it would have been impossible to reach the extent of globalization that now defines the modern economy.

Vaclav Smil

Teaching Fundamental Diesel Skills

Recognizing the ongoing importance of diesel engines is Michigan Tech’s Advanced Power Systems (APS) LABS. The expert instructional team from MTU’s acclaimed multidisciplinary research center comprises Dr. Jeffrey Naber, Dr. Jeremy Work, Dr. Vinicius Bonfochi Vinhaes, and Grant Ovist. Together, they are teaching two condensed courses on diesel engines. These 20-hour (2.5 day courses) come in two modalities to suit the diverse needs of learners. That is, students may take the F2F version, or they may study from home in the Live/Online Version.

Both courses, which focus on diesel engines, are suitable for those interested in pursuing careers in the automotive industry, commercial vehicles, power generation, or related fields.

MEEM 5202 (Diesel Engine Fundamentals)

This non-credit course is ideal for those who want to gain foundational knowledge in diesel engines. It runs from Wednesday, May 31, 2023 to Friday, June 2, 2023.

MEEM 5204 (Diesel Engine Management Systems, Emissions, and Aftertreatment)

This non-credit course equips students with a deeper understanding of diesel engine management systems, emissions, and aftertreatment. It runs from Wednesday, June 28, 2023 to Friday, June 30, 2023.

Visit the Global Campus page for APS LABS to see more details about these courses.

Promoting Professional Development

Michigan Tech Global Campus is proud to partner with and support APS LABS in promoting their professional learning short courses. We understand the importance of offering non-credit continuing education that meets the ever-evolving needs of learners.

Whether it is professional development, professional learning, short online courses, bridge courses, or specialized corporate training, Global Campus wants to help in providing continuing education that is practical, flexible, and accessible.

Stay tuned for other learning opportunities that offer practical skills and competencies for keeping pace with technology and upskilling your career.

Michigan Tech Joins Nexteer in Fellowship Education Partnership

Sign at Nexteer welcoming MTU to its organization.

Electric vehicles. Connected software-enabled automobiles. Advanced electric power and steer-by-wire systems. As these advances and others demonstrate, keeping pace with the transformation of technologies in the automotive industry is both an opportunity and a challenge. Both Michigan Technological University and Nexteer Automotive understand that higher education offers one avenue to develop solutions for these evolving trends and technologies.beteen

Therefore, to help meet ongoing industry needs, Michigan Tech and Nexteer have joined forces.

On October 20, 2022, leaders from Michigan Tech and Global Campus visited Nexteer Automotive’s Global Technical Center in Saginaw, Michigan. The purpose: signing an Education Partnership Agreement with Nexteer Automotive.

This unique agreement will allow Nexteer employees to pursue advanced degrees from Michigan Tech. By doing so, they get to develop their interests, level up their education, and acquire in-demand skills. Furthermore, employees will also gain the benefits of furthering their own competitive advantages while acquiring the industry-specific knowledge needed for Nexteer’s high-growth areas. And for Nexteer, this fellowship will attract, retain, and grow its talented workforce. 

How does this partnership work? Current Nexteer employees will receive fellowships to enroll in one of Michigan Tech’s online graduate certificates or master’s degree programs. These fellowships are available for up to four years, provided the recipients continue to meet Tech’s eligibility requirements.

The CEO of Nexteer and the president of MTU shake hands at a table over the signing of Michigan Tech's Corporate Education Fellowship. In the background are leaders from their organization.
Leaders from Michigan Tech and Nexteer at the signing ceremony. Robin Milavec (President, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Sales Officer, & Executive Board Director of Nexteer) shakes hands with Michigan Tech President Richard Koubek.

Building Bridges with Nexteer Automotive

The fellowship program is part of Global Campus’s missions to a) build relationships between academia and industry; and b) make quality online education more accessible to diverse adult learners.

Robin Milavec, Nexteer’s President, CTO, CSO, & Executive Board Director, also spoke of the importance of partnerships between industry and education. He recognized that Nexteer resides in a “dynamic environment where technology is rapidly changing.” Collaborating with a university, then, make sense. This program, which makes “continuing educational development opportunities” more accessible, will help Nexteer achieve its goals.

Overall, it’s a win-win relationship. That is, Nexteer gets to “to tap into a very rich pipeline of talent and skills that we need to fuel our future growth.” Also, Michigan Tech is “able to tap into industry and see their challenges.”

Milavec also recognized the competencies and preparedness of Michigan Tech graduates, noting their valued ability to “hit the ground running.”

Robin Milavec, President, CTO, CSO, & Executive Board Director of Nexteer

In terms of attracting, retaining, and growing our employees, the partnership with Michigan Tech is really one of the foundational elements of our future. . . it gives us that lifeline into continuing education so our employees can continue to develop and help us solve our industry-specific problems.

Robin Milavec, President, CTO, CSO, & Executive Board Director of Nexteer

Working with an Industry Innovator

Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Nexteer is a leading motion control technology company with a global reach. Currently, the organization has 27 manufacturing plants, with multiple operations in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Collaborating with Nexteer is a natural fit for Michigan Tech. At the signing ceremony, President Koubek affirmed that Michigan Tech is “a bit unique as an institution, in that our founding legislation established that we are to help advance” Michigan’s industries. “This partnership helps us to actualize that responsibility.”

Furthermore, Tech also has a long history of working with the automotive industry. Our university offers several online certificates and degrees that help students develop skills in automotive technologies: Online Hybrid Electric Drive Engineering Vehicle CertificateAutomotive Systems and Controls Certificate, Control systems, and Vehicle dynamics.

And Tech’s educational mission of “discovering new knowledge through research, and launching new technologies through innovation” aligns well with Nexteer’s vision of striving for “relentless innovation.” The company is also respected for delivering high-quality, next-level electric power and steer-by-wire systems, steering columns, driveline systems, and driver-assistance systems. A few of Nexteer’s clients include BMW, Ford, General Motors, Renault-Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance, General Motors, Stellantis, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

Collaborating to Prepare for Industry 4.0

The signing ceremony was just the first step in a long and fruitful relationship between Michigan Tech and Nexteer.

Next, David Lawrence and his Global Campus team will hold a series of in-person and virtual interest sessions to Nexteer employees. These sessions will explain more details about and the benefits of this unique program.

Higher education will equip Nexteer Automotive employees to meet the challenges of the mobility revolution. It will also prepare them to address the technological developments of Industry 4.0. Or, as President Koubek put it, Tech is both honored and excited to partner with organizations such as Nexteer. They “will be the ones that are transforming and leading our country in the fourth industrial revolution.”

Michigan Tech and Global Campus look forward to working with Nexteer Automotive and helping to grow the organization’s success. We are also happy to welcome Nexteer employees into our university community.