The world’s first commercial Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for road freight trucks/vehicles was recently unveiled by Skeleton Technologies and Adgero. The new system can reportedly reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 15–25% — depending upon traffic circumstances and terrain.
The new Adgero Hybrid System is composed of a bank of high-power ultracapacitors coordinated with an electrically-driven axle (mounted under the vehicle trailer). Control of the system is via an “intelligent” management system that keeps track of driver input to automatically regulate the regenerative braking + acceleration boost, amongst other things.
Perhaps most interesting of everything that’s been revealed so far is that the system will reportedly pay for itself in as little as 3 years even if only considering fuel savings. If subsidies are included, then the payback period is even faster. Also worth noting is that the offering was designed to last longer than the 10-year lifespans of the average trailer.
“Road haulage accounts for over a fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, so fuel efficient solutions are crucial. We are beginning to see regenerative braking systems in automotive applications but the market clearly needs a similar solution for articulated lorries,” stated Mack Murray, CEO of Adgero. “By partnering with Skeleton Technologies, we are putting the world’s most advanced ultracapacitors at the heart of our system. This will give us a powerful competitive edge in a demanding industry where energy density is a key metric.”
The partnership with Skeleton Technologies is of course owing to the fact that its currently at the forefront of ultracapacitor research, and is currently the only manufacturer to offer a “patented graphene material that allows for better conductivity and higher surface area,” a press release about the news stated. “This material has allowed the young company to quickly achieve breakthroughs in product performance, delivering twice the energy density and five times the power density of competitors’ products.”
The two companies have been cooperating over the last year to offer an 800V ultracapacitor power module (composed of 5 160V units) designed specifically for freight trucks/vehicles.
“At Skeleton Technologies we pride ourselves on being a vertically integrated ultracapacitor manufacturer, from materials technology through to the system level,” stated Chief Technology Officer Volker Dudek. “To enable this solution for Adgero, we developed intelligent power modules with a proprietary management system that allows for smart monitoring and control of the energy/power profile according to customer requirements.”
Road testing for the new technology is set to begin next year, with the French company Altrans employing the technology in some of its 11,000 vehicles currently in use in Europe. The plan is reportedly for mass production to begin shortly after that — with 8,000–10,000 units being produced annually by the year 2020, presuming that all goes well.