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Fuel economy

Fuel-Saving Shock Absorber Invented at MIT

Thursday, February 19, 2009 by: Susanne Morrone, C.N.C.
Tags: fuel economy, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) At a time when the saving of energy and fuel is a top priority, a team of MIT undergraduate students have invented a technology to increase fuel economy as reported in ScienceDaily (Feb. 13, 2009). Called the GenShock, their patented shock absorber generates electricity from small bumps in the road. Senior Shakeel Avadhany and his team say they can produce up to a 10 percent improvement in overall vehicle fuel efficiency with their regenerative shock absorbers.

"We wanted to figure out where energy was being wasted in a vehicle," said Zack Anderson, senior in electrical engineering and computer sciences. Since some hybrid cars effectively recover energy from braking, the team looked for other possibilities. The vehicle`s suspension was their logical choice. They discovered a significant amount of wasted energy in conventional suspension systems-- especially for heavy vehicles. To obtain this necessary data, they rented a variety of different car models, attached sensors to the suspension, and drove around recording with a laptop.

Using a hydraulic system which forces fluid through a turbine attached to a generator, their prototype shock absorbers harness the wasted power. An active electronic system controls the hydraulic system and optimizes damping. The result is a smoother ride than conventional shocks offer, plus the electricity that is generated recharges the batteries or operates the electrical equipment. If the electronics would fail for any reason, the system simply acts like a regular shock absorber.

Several truck manufacturers and the U.S. Military are interested in their invention. The company that produces Humvees for the army loaned the MIT students a vehicle for testing purposes. So far, they have found that in a 6-shock heavy truck, each absorber could generate up to an average of 1 kW on a standard road. This power would completely displace the large alternator load in heavy truck and military vehicles. It may possibly even run accessory devices such as hybrid trailer refrigeration units.

A patent for the shock absorber system was filed last year. The undergraduate students hope to have this technology on every heavy-truck, military vehicle and consumer hybrid on the road. Their calculations in fuel cost savings for a company such as Wal-Mart with its large fleet of trucks would be as much as $13 million a year.

In addition to Zack Anderson and Shakeel Advahany, the group includes Zachary Jackowski, Paul Abel, Rayan Bavetta and Vladmir Tarasov. They have been assisted by MIT`s Venture Mentoring Service and advised by Yet-Ming Chiang, The Kyocera Professor of Ceramics in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Sources

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2009, February 13). New Shock Absorber Harvests Energy From Bumps In The Road, Increases Fuel Economy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02...
MIT News (Feb. 9, 2009) More Power From Bumps in the Road
Washington (ANI) (Feb. 13, 2009) Now, shock absorbers that harness road bumps to generate electricity for vehicles

About the author

Susanne Morrone, C.N.C., is an author, speaker and natural health educator. Her book, "The Best Little Health Book Ever," is the quintessential natural health primer. She is also included in "101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health" by Selfgrowth.com. Her mission and educational outreach is found at www.naturalhealthchat.com.

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