Kinetic energy recovery technology reaches road freight vehicles

Kinetic energy recovery technology reaches road freight vehicles

By eeNews Europe

Two European technology startups, Skeleton Technologies and Adgero SARL, have developed a KERS custom-made for use in road freight vehicles. The hybrid system is designed to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions by up to 25%, and is optimised for intermodal road transport solutions.

The Adgero Hybrid System consists of a bank of high-power ultracapacitors working alongside an electrically-driven axle, which is mounted under the trailer. The technology is controlled by an intelligent management system that tracks driver input in order to automatically control the regenerative braking and acceleration boost.

Additional thrust: If required, the KERS provides some extra horsepowers

The technology is projected to reduce fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions by 15-25%, depending on terrain and traffic profile. It will also pay for itself in as little as three years through reduced consumption alone, the designers advertise. Where subsidies are available the payback can be even quicker. The product has also been designed to exceed the typical 10 year lifetime of the trailer itself.

“Road haulage accounts for over a fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, so fuel efficient solutions are crucial. We are beginning to see regenerative braking systems in automotive applications but the market clearly needs a similar solution for articulated lorries,” explains Mack Murray, CEO of Adgero SARL. To get the most out of the system, Adgero partners with Skeleton Technologies for the ultracaps: Skeleton, like Adgero a startup company, uses a patented graphene material for the coating of its capacitors. This allows for better conductivity and higher surface area, which translates into higher capacity.

Over the last year, Skeleton Technologies has worked with Adgero to adapt an 800V ultracapacitor power module that is proving successful in the motorsport industry to meet the needs of road freight vehicles. The module consists of five 160V units made up of Skeleton Technologies’ cylindrical cells. With monitoring for each individual cell, the module is able to actively self-balance.

No energy gets lost: During braking the kinetic energy is transformed into electric energy and stored in the system’s ultracaps.

Adgero’s system will be fully compatible with existing infrastructure and staff training programmes, and has been optimised for intermodal solutions. Any truck equipped with an Adgero monitor becomes a parallel electric hybrid when paired with an equipped trailer. If a truck without a monitor picks up a retrofitted trailer, the hybrid system will simply stay in standby mode.

Road testing will begin in 2016 with French logistics company Altrans, which is part of a trade organisation representing 11,000 vehicles across Europe. Adgero and Skeleton Technologies then plan to ramp up production, with the objective of producing 8000–10,000 units annually by 2020.

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