Trailers have traditionally been seen as a means to transport goods, but they may soon play an even larger role in sustainable transportation. Evolution KWH, an e-mobility, and power company has patented a method of capturing wasted kinetic energy from trailer braking systems for use in recharging batteries and as auxiliary power for the reefer unit. The company says its technology can reduce the environmental impact of long-haul freight while making truck and trailer operation more efficient and cost-effective.
The Patented System!
The system captures energy by harnessing the potential energy created when the trailer brakes are applied. The energy is stored in an integrated battery, which doubles as an electrical power source for the electrical and mechanical equipment on board the trailer. It can also be harnessed to drive a generator to provide electricity to the load. The system is capable of delivering up to 20 kW of continuous power and can operate over a wide range of speeds and loads.
Use of Captured Energy!
As the brake is applied, kinetic energy is generated and stored by the integrated battery for use at a later time. When the brake is released, the stored energy is returned to the main electrical grid to recharge the battery for the next braking event. This eliminates the need to keep a separate supply of charged batteries on board the vehicle. The system can also be used to supply auxiliary power to the reefer unit, eliminating the need for an external power source and providing added flexibility for operating parameters.
Reducing Environmental Impact!
It is estimated that approximately 12% of the energy used in the United States is generated by vehicles such as trucks and buses. Much of this energy is wasted as it is dissipated through friction during braking and is not returned to the electrical grid. By recovering this energy and using it to power operations on the vehicle, the system helps to reduce fuel use and emissions. Additionally, the system can generate additional revenue for owners by allowing them to lease the energy captured from the braking system to electric utilities or other entities that could benefit from having a reliable source of renewable energy.
Advantages and Disadvantages!
While the ability to recover energy from braking events is a benefit, there are some disadvantages associated with using such a system. First, it may limit the range of the vehicle because the energy stored in a battery can only be discharged at a steady rate over time, and not as fast as the energy is being produced during normal driving conditions. The amount of energy that can be recovered also depends on the power being dissipated during braking and the rate at which it is returned. Finally, the cost of integrating the system into a trailer may be high because it requires the installation of an additional piece of equipment, as well as wiring and other components that would not be needed otherwise. Despite these drawbacks, the eMobility System offers an attractive alternative to conventional vehicle designs that incorporate internal combustion engines.