Intense Interest in Energy Harvesting for Electric Vehicles

April 20, 2011
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Two forthcoming events in Germany reflect the intense interest in energy harvesting for electric vehicles. Energy Harvesting Storage Europe 2011, 21-22 June covers many forms of harvesting for other applications as well and drills into the technology, investment and other aspects of harvesting in general. On the other hand Electric Vehicles Land, Sea Air Europe 2011 in Stuttgart 28-29 June is entirely vehicle oriented. It covers a wide variety of future land, water and air electric vehicles and their needs, including many emerging forms of harvesting that are appropriate.

Here are some of the advances that will be announced at these events. Some will generate hundreds of watts to tens of kilowatts to provide significant power to traction batteries. Harvesting shock absorbers and active suspension, thermoelectrics and photovoltaics will be examples of this. On the other hand, harvesting will increase range in a more subtle fashion – by permitting myriads of small sensors and actuators to work wirelessly, monitoring more things to conserve energy and improve safety and eliminating the need for heavy copper wiring that reduces range. This is one focus of Energy Harvesting Europe which also has many presentations on the wireless sensors themselves.

Presenting at Electric Vehicles Land, Sea Air Europe 2011, IDTechEx will give an overview of the benefits and problems of all forms of photovoltaic, dynamic and thermoelectric harvesting for vehicles and what comes next. Presenter asola Automotive will describe its record breaking 130 peak watts sunroof on the plug-in hybrid Fisker Karma sports car entering production this year. It is the largest and most powerful automotive solar sunroof in serial production.

Energy harvesting technologies for vehicles have traditionally focused on harvesting rotary kinetic motion. That includes regenerative braking, the propeller on a sea yacht reversing when under sail and the equivalent trailing of a pure electric light aircraft’s propeller when soaring. Another focus has been micro-size vibration energy (e.g. piezoelectrics), and waste heat (e.g.thermoelectrics).

Currently, few commercial solutions exist for harvesting linear kinetic energy in the tens of watts to tens of kilowatts range but MIT spinoff Levant Power has cracked the problem with energy harvesting dampers that can generate ten kilowatts across a bus or truck. Applications being trialled include cars, trucks, military vehicles, construction vehicles and industrial and marine applications such as power for pure electric autonomous underwater vehicles AUVs. On land, its GenShock even improves ride control and handling by adjusting suspension damping dynamically.

Meanwhile, rotary dynamic power generation takes us to AUVs hinging to harvest wave power when they surface – usually in combination with photovoltaics – multi mode harvesting being increasingly favoured for all vehicles. It even leads to completely new markets, none more dramatic than the Valence – B

Article source: http://www.ecnmag.com/News/2011/04/Europe/Intense-Interest-in-Energy-Harvesting-for-Electric-Vehicles/ The feed :

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