Kinetic energy recovery system for HGVs could save up to 25% in fuel costs

Two European manufacturers have teamed up to create a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) suitable for use on HGVs.

Skeleton Technologies and Adgero SARL have designed a hybrid system, optimised for intermodal road transport operations, that they claim can reduce fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions by up to 25%.

How it works…adegrohow

The Adgero Hybrid System is an intelligent operation comprising two control units: one on the tractor unit and one on the trailer.

During acceleration, the tractor unit communicates with the trailer to manage the boost provided by an electrically-driven axle on the trailer. Power is stored in a bank of high-power ultracapacitors.

During braking, the motor becomes a generator, recovering kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost as heat and storing it in the ultracapacitors.

Its manufacturers said it will pay for itself within three years in reduced fuel consumption, realising savings of between 15% and 25% depending on terrain and traffic conditions.

The system has been designed to exceed the typical 10-year lifetime of a trailer.

“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,” said Mack Murray, CEO of Adgero SARL.

“By partnering with Skeleton Technologies, we are putting the world’s most advanced ultracapacitors at the heart of our system. This will give us a powerful competitive edge in a demanding industry where energy density is a key metric.”

Skeleton Technologies uses a patented graphene material in its ultracapacitors that allows for greater conductivity and higher surface area. In the past year, the company 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.

In recent months the Adgero hybrid system has been through rigorous testing procedures including vibration, shock and immersion testing. On-road trials will begin in 2016 with Altrans, a French logistics company that is part of a trade organisation that represents 11,000 vehicles across Europe.

Adgero and Skeleton Technologies then plan to ramp up production, with the objective of producing 8,000–10,000 units annually by 2020.