Energy From Bumps In the Road

Shock-absorber-energy A group of MIT undergraduate students who recognized that electric power in hybrid vehicles can come from applying brakes wondered if the vehicle’s suspension system might offer similar promise. reports:

“They rented a variety of car models, attaching sensors to suspension to determine the energy potential. They were aided by laptop computers for recording the sensor data. Their tests revealed that “a significant amount of energy” was being wasted in conventional suspension systems, Anderson said, “especially for heavy vehicles”.

After that they set out to prepare a prototype system to harness the wasted power. Their shock absorber employs a hydraulic system that forces fluid through a turbine attached to a generator. The system is controlled by an active electronic system that optimizes the damping. This device provides a smoother ride than traditional shocks while generating electricity to recharge the batteries or operate electrical equipment.”

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Published: July 22, 2009