The team from the Institute of Engineering and Design at Brunel University have developed a way to harness the energy that is usually wasted when an engine uses its natural compression to decelerate. During this process, pistons in the engine can work to compress air, and eventually store this compressed air in a tank located in the car.
Then, at the appropriate time, the air will be used for possible turbocharging requirements or to power the pistons themselves, depending on what each engine required. Best of all, the technology is said to be simple and cheap, and that normal engines that we find in our cars today would only require small changes to become air hybrid cars.
Professor Hua Zhao, who is heading up the team, stated that the technology was a "major breakthrough", but it must be tested with vehicle manufacturers first to determine its viability.
This isn't the first time a group has been claiming to have developed a cheap, simple method of improving fuel economy, and often times claims like this one are treated with a healthy skepticism - however this time, considering the source of the technology, we're a little more confident that this air hybrid business may just make it off the chalkboard and into your car someday.