University of Huddersfield doctoral student Ruichen Wang with a device designed to harvest energy from vehicle shock absorbers

Device harvests energy from car shock absorbers

Image credit: University of Huddersfield

A device that can harvest energy from shock absorbers in cars has been developed by researchers from the University of Huddersfield who say it will reduce fuel consumption in vehicles of the future.

Current technologies allow harvesting energy from brakes during deceleration. This energy can be fed into the vehicle’s batteries and used to power electrical systems such as air-conditioning. So far, however, no one has attempted to harvest energy from suspension systems.

The new device was developed by former Huddersfield doctoral student Ruichen Wang.

In an article in the journal Energies, Wang describes the device, which is intended for use in heavy goods vehicles.

“It has resulted in a truly realisable application for energy recovery from a typical road vehicle,” Professor Andrew Ball, Wang’s supervisor, commented on the project.

“Ruichen developed a theoretical predictive model and carried out the empirical testing, and the two of them correlate beautifully.”

The researchers hope to test the system in a heavy good vehicle soon in cooperation with an industrial partner. However, they believe the technology could also work in trains.

“We are now exploring how Dr Wang’s energy harvesting and modelling techniques can be applied to developing low-cost self-health monitoring dampers for railway vehicles, a project which already has two industrial partners,” said Paul Allen, who leads the University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Railway Research Centre for Innovation in Rail.

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