Two European startup companies, Skeleton Technologies and Adgero SARL, have developed the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, a hybrid system for road freight vehicles that attaches to a trailer and provides a boost to the vehicle.
This hybrid system is designed to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions by up to 25% and has been optimized for intermodal applications. A trailer is equipped with the system which provides a boost generated from kinetic energy gathered by braking.
The system consists of a bank of high-power ultracapacitors that work alongside an electronically-driven axle mounted under the trailer. An intelligent management system controls the process and tracks driver input in order to automatically control regenerative braking and acceleration boost.
Skeleton worked with Adgero to adapt an 800-volt ultracapacitor power module designed for the motorsport industry to meet the needs of freight vehicles. The module consists of five 160-volt units made up of Skeleton Technologies’ cylindrical cells. Each cell is monitored individually and is able to actively self-balance.
The system was designed to be compatible with existing infrastructure and any truck equipped with an Adgero monitor will be able to tap into the hybrid system 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.
The technology has been through testing procedures the last few months, exposing it to vibration, shock and typical conditions for intermodal freight. Road testing will begin in 2016 with Altrans, a French logistics company.
“Road haulage accounts for over a fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, so fuel efficient solutions are crucial,” said Mack Murray, CEO of Adgero SARL. “We are beginning to see regenerative braking systems in automotive applications but the market clearly needs a similar solution for articulated lorries.”