Skeleton Technologies and Adgero develop KERS for road haulage

In what is claimed to be a world first, Skeleton Technologies and Adgero SARL have developed the world’s first Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for road freight vehicles.

The hybrid system is designed to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions by up to 25%, and is optimised for intermodal road transport solutions.

The Adgero Hybrid System consists of a bank of high-power ultracapacitors working alongside an electrically-driven axle mounted under the trailer. The technology is controlled by an intelligent management system that tracks driver input to automatically control the regenerative braking and acceleration boost.

KERs for freight

The technology – designed to exceed the typical 10-year lifetime of the trailer – is expected to reduce fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions by 15-25%, depending on traffic and terrain.

“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,” said Mack Murray, CEO of Adgero SARL. “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.”

Skeleton Technologies’ ultracapacitors use a patented graphene material that is claimed to facilitate better conductivity and higher surface area. Over the last year, Skeleton Technologies has worked with Adgero to adapt an 800V ultracapacitor power module, which consists of five 160V units made up of Skeleton Technologies’ cylindrical cells. With monitoring for each individual cell, the module is able to actively self-balance.

KERs for freight

“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,” said Volker Dudek, Skeleton’s CTO.

The system has already been through testing procedures including vibration, shock and immersion analysis. Road testing will begin in 2016 with Altrans, a French logistics company that is part of a trade organisation that represents 11,000 vehicles across Europe.

Adgero and Skeleton Technologies then plan to ramp up production, with the objective of producing 8000-10,000 units annually by 2020.

KERs for freight