Hybrid system targets trailer fuel savings

New KERS technology looks to trailer regenerative braking systems for fuel savings


French firm Adgero SARL and ultracapacitor company Skeleton Technologies have partnered to launch a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) to reduce fuel consumption and emissions in road freight vehicles.

With reduction targets between 15 to 25 per cent, the hybrid system features a collection of high-power ultracapacitors working in conjunction with an electronically-driven axle integrated in the trailer.

A control unit in the truck informs the motor in the trailer as to whether the driver is accelerating or braking.

During acceleration, the motor draws power from the capacitors to aid the truck’s movement.

When braking, power is regenerated, as it utilises the kinetic energy usually lost in heat to refill the batteries.

"Road haulage accounts for over a fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, so fuel efficient solutions are crucial," Adgero CEO Mack Murray says.

"We are beginning to see regenerative braking systems in automotive applications but the market clearly needs a similar solution for articulated lorries."

Working with Adgero, Skeleton Technologies adapted an 800V ultracapacitor power module, consisting of five 160V units, for the system.

Adgero says the system will be compatible with existing infrastructure.

"Any truck equipped with an Adgero monitor becomes a parallel electric hybrid when paired with an equipped trailer," Adgero says.

"If a truck without a monitor picks up a retrofitted trailer, the hybrid system will simply stay in standby mode."

With plans to produce up to 10,000 units by 2020, the companies have been vibration, shock and immersion testing their product and will road test it next year with French logistics company Altrans.

Designed to exceed the typical lifespan of a trailer, and pay for itself in three years, the KERS will be on display in Paris at the World Efficiency Congress from October 13.


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