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Energy harvesting shock absorber technology wins R&D 100 award

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe


R&D Magazine’s annual R&D 100 Awards recognize the 100 most technologically significant product innovations developed throughout the world and introduced into the marketplace over the previous year. The awards have long been a benchmark of excellence known to industry, government, and academia as proof that the product is one of the most ground-breaking of the year.

"This is a very novel idea and concept, and is an extraordinary example of the many innovative and entrepreneurial ideas that are being developed in the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at Stony Brook," said Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., President of Stony Brook University. 

Professor Lei Zuo holds an electricity-generating shock absorber in the Energy Harvesting & Mechatronic Lab at Stony Brook University. Credit: Stony Brook University.

Dr. Zuo’s electricity-harvesting shock absorber continuously harvests vibration energy, from hundreds to thousands of watts, from the vehicle’s suspension vibration that is currently being dissipated into heat waste by the conventional oil shock absorbers. The harvested energy is used to charge the battery and power vehicle electronics and thus reduce the load of the alternator and the engine, improving the fuel efficiency of the vehicle by two to eight percent. The energy harvesting also provides further opportunity to enhance the ride comfort and road safety by adjusting the suspension damping or implementing self-powered vibration control.

"The electricity-harvesting shock absorber is made to be retrofittable to most of the current vehicles and can replace the traditional shock absorber without modification of the vehicle suspension structure," explains Dr. Zuo, an assistant professor in the department of mechanical engineering at SBU. "The product can typically recover 100-400 watts of vibration energy from a passenger car when it’s driving at 60 m.p.h. and up to several kilowatts from trucks, rail cars and off-road vehicles."

"If just five percent of the 256 million registered vehicles in this country (USA) adopt this technology, we will create a market of over six billion dollars," continues Dr. Zuo.


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