When it comes to power-regeneration technology the first place most people look at is brake hardware. Many of the petrol-electric hybrid vehicles on the roads today, and even some non-hybrids, feature some sort of brake energy regeneration device. These usually consist of storing energy in a separate fly wheel or using an electric motor as a generator to slow a vehicle.
Scientists at Tufts University have now developed a system that relies on the movement of a shock-absorber to generate power. According to Tufts Journal, the technology is an electromagnetic linear generator, which converts energy that would otherwise be lost, into electrical energy that can help charge a vehicle’s battery.
The electricity generated can then be combined with electricity from other power generation systems, such as solar panels or regenerative brakes, and stored in the vehicle’s batteries or used to power ancillary features.
The technology was pioneered by engineering professor emeritus Ronald Goldner and colleague Peter Zerigian within the School of Engineering, with support also from Argonne National Laboratory. A transport company in the U.S. has licensed the technology and plans to start trials using a fleet of electric trucks later this year.