SBIR-STTR Award

Integrated Hydraulic Suspension Energy Recovery System for Heavy Vehicles
Profile last edited on: 3/9/2012

Program
SBIR
Agency
NSF
Total Award Amount
$1,280,000
Award Phase
2
Principal Investigator
Zackary M Anderson
Activity Indicator

Company Information

ClearMotion Inc (AKA:Levant Power Corporation)

805 Middlesex Turnpike
Billerica, MA 01821
   (617) 313-0822
   info@clearmotion.com
   www.clearmotion.com
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   05
County:   Middlesex

Phase I

Phase I year
2010
Phase I Amount
$180,000
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project proposes to develop a hydraulic regenerative shock absorber and charge system for hybrid trucks. An appreciable amount of energy is lost in a typical suspension as heat, especially in heavy vehicles. Existing technologies have been unable to efficiently capture this energy in a cost-effective manner. This project will entail the modeling, design, fabrication, and testing of a hydraulic-electric energy harvesting unit, along with the power electronics and energy storage subsystem to charge hybrid truck batteries. The objective of the project is to study and prove the feasibility of a regenerative shock absorber as a disruptive hydraulic energy harvesting mechanism on heavy trucks. Emphasis will be on the specific challenges of converting high force small amplitude oscillations into electricity that can interface with hybrid charge systems. Work will focus on a proof-of-concept demonstration and a determination of the increased efficiency possible on a hybrid vehicle using the internal piston/integrated-generator regenerative shock absorber mechanism. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is significant as the foundational technology can be applied to a wide range of vehicles, systems and industrial applications in diverse industries. The technology has the potential to save millions of dollars per year in fuel for fleet operators, and simultaneously reduce carbon emissions across the United States. Hybrid vehicles traditionally have a single energy regeneration source (braking) to charge batteries. Effectively incorporating a secondary regenerative charge system may open doors to many new regenerative technologies that work in unison to charge hybrid vehicle batteries, thus allowing for significant reductions in waste energy. The market potential for the technology is considerable, and includes trucks, military vehicles, transit buses, passenger vehicles, and rail. When incorporated into conventional non-hybrid platforms, the technology can improve fuel economy by displacing alternator load. In addition to vehicular applications, the research may, on a broader scale, lead to enabling technologies for compact, sealed, and efficient hydraulic actuators and energy harvesters. This will have applications in other fields such as aviation, industrial machinery, and robotics

Phase II

Phase II year
2012 (last award dollars: 2013)
Phase II Amount
$1,100,000
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project proposes to develop a fully functional turnkey regenerative semi-active shock absorber for heavy-duty transit buses and other commercial vehicles. An appreciable amount of energy is lost in a typical suspension as heat, especially in heavy vehicles. Existing technologies have been unable to efficiently capture this energy in a cost-effective manner. This project entails hydraulic and electronic model optimization, design of vehicle-ready prototypes, fabrication, lab testing, installation, and operational testing of a hydraulic adaptive damping energy harvesting system. The objective of the project is to demonstrate real-world benefits of an efficient, adjustable damping regenerative shock absorber on a transit bus in operation with a municipal transit agency. Emphasis will be on efficiency improvements, semi-active ride control, and application specific integration requirements to ensure seamless installation and operation. Work will culminate in a fully fielded pilot demonstration and quantification of regenerated energy (improved fuel efficiency) and ride improvement benefits using the regenerative semi-active shock absorber. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is significant if the challenges of inexpensively, reliably, and efficiently capturing suspension energy are overcome. The technology has the potential to save millions of dollars per year in fuel for large fleets, and significantly reduce carbon emissions in the United States and abroad. Effectively incorporating an aftermarket or OEM retrofit-able regenerative energy capture system may open doors to many new regenerative technologies in the transportation and automotive sector, facilitating significant reductions in waste energy. In addition, the research may lead to enabling technology for compact, sealed, and efficient hydraulic actuators and energy harvesters across several industrial applications. This may have applications in other fields such as off grid marine (hydrokinetic) energy, aerospace actuators, heavy machinery dampers, orthotics/prosthetics, and robotics