A team of MIT undergraduate students has invented what they call a shock absorber that harnesses energy from small bumps in the road, generating electricity while smoothing the ride more effectively than conventional shocks.
The team claims they can produce up to a 10% improvement in overall vehicle fuel efficiency using the regenerative shock absorbers. Renting a variety of different car models, they outfit the suspension with sensors to determine the energy potential. Their tests reveal a significant amount of energy being wasted in conventional suspension systems.
The prototype shock absorbers use a hydraulic system that forces fluid through a turbine attached to a generator and the system is controlled by an active electronic system that optimizes damping. Testing so far shows that in a six-shock truck, each shock absorber could generate up to an average of 1 kW on a standard road.
For more details, contact Elizabeth A. Thomson via e-mail at [email protected].
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