Popularised in Formula 1, a KERS system recovers the kinetic energy usually lost under braking, and uses it to power a small electric motor.

French firm Adgero, working with German company Skeleton Technologies, claims to have developed a KERS system that can be used with trucks and lorries, reducing associated emissions by up to 25%.

Their system consists of a bank of high-power ultra capacitors (similar to batteries) working alongside an electrically-driven axle, which is mounted under the trailer.

The technology is controlled by an intelligent management system that tracks driver inputs in order to automatically control the regenerative braking and acceleration boost.

Ultracapacitors are considered by some to be the best way to deliver a quick surge of power because they store energy in an electric field, rather than in a chemical reaction, allow it to survive hundreds of thousands more charge and discharge cycles than a battery.

The system will reportedly pay for itself in as little as three years through reduced consumption alone, and where subsidies are available the payback can be even quicker. 

“Road haulage accounts for over a fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, so fuel efficient solutions are crucial,” said Adgero CEO Mack Murray. 

“We are beginning to see regenerative braking systems in automotive applications but the market clearly needs a similar solution for articulated lorries.”

Truckin’ emissions

Efforts to tackle haulage emissions have come in a variety of guises, including lorries powered by propane, biomethane, electricity and even cooking oil.

One Norwegian start-up has tried to cut emissions by promoting ‘social delivery’, where drivers with space in their vehicles are given packages to deliver to places they were driving to anyway.

Brad Allen

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