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Kinerstor project aims to demonstrate viability of low cost flywheel hybrid systems

November 25, 2009

Oxford, November 24, 2009. Following the recent announcement of part funding by the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board, the partners in the KinerStor project have today announced further details of their collaborative programme to demonstrate the viability of low-cost flywheel hybrid systems. The KinerStor project will be led by Ricardo and will comprise a consortium of industrial partners including CTG, JCB, Land Rover, SKF, Torotrak and Williams Hybrid Power. The project aims to demonstrate the potential of flywheel-based hybrid systems with the potential for 30 per cent fuel savings (and equivalent reductions in CO2 emissions) at an on-cost of less than £1000, thus enabling the mass-market uptake of hybrid vehicles in price sensitive vehicle applications.

The project will research and de-risk the principle critical flywheel sub-systems individually, then bring them together for system optimisation in two forms of proprietary device; a mechanical/magnetic coupled flywheel system developed by Ricardo (known by the trade name Kinergy), and an electrically coupled unit developed by Williams Hybrid Power. The flywheel systems being developed by the KinerStor consortium partners are ideally suited for potential applications in passenger cars ranging from small, price-sensitive mass-market models through to large luxury SUVs, as well as in low-cost compact energy storage systems for application in industrial and construction equipment. The KinerStor project team aims to design, build and test a number of prototype units such that on completion, the developed technologies are ready for vehicle-based installation, testing and demonstration.

The KinerStor consortium brings together a critical mass of relevant skills and expertise in specialist areas, including: advanced flywheel systems, focusing on new material technologies including low-cost composite fibres and specialist steels; continuously variable transmissions; bearing and coupling design; drivetrain integration; and volume vehicle manufacturing. The project’s structure will allow for the development of common core technology solutions which can be tailored to the individual needs of vehicle manufacturers, maximising potential fuel saving and CO2 emission reduction benefits.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Ricardo group technology director Neville Jackson said: “The development of highly optimised flywheel based technology offers the prospectof the effective and low-cost hybridisation of price-sensitive vehicle applications with consequent benefits to fuel economy and CO2 emissions reduction. Ricardo is pleased to be able to lead the KinerStor consortium which brings together a crucial mass of skills and expertise in this important area of future automotive technology.”

The KinerStor project is supported by an investment from the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board with balancing resources provided by the project partners.

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