More Efficient Hybrid Vehicles
If we can control the excess carbon emissions from fossil fuels we can control the global warming to a great extent. When we start our cars and apply brakes using combustion engines we use generous amount of fossil fuel and the carbon emission too is in the direct proportion of the amount of gas used. Now researchers are trying to concentrate on two points: starting a combustion engine and applying breaks. If we start using hybrid cars that use electricity for breaks and then run on fossil fuel for the rest of your journey then we will be able to reduce the emitted carbon quantity. Now companies are paying heed to the green consumers and launching hybrid cars in the market. They produce less pollution.
Toni Font, a recent graduate of the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Enginyers Industrials de Barcelona (ETSEIB) proposed a way to make hybrid vehicles more efficient. They are supposed to reduce fuel consumption by 67%. Toni Font’s proposal focuses on the drawbacks of the conventional mechanism of breaks. While we are driving a fossil fuel car and apply breaks on and off we see the loss of kinetic energy. This act of ours results in very high fuel consumption. So it follows the GIGO principle here, though not exactly the garbage in and garbage out sort of way, but high fuel consumption results in more carbon emissions. Toni Font has focused on solving this problem. He is working under the supervision of Ramon Costa who is the lecturer at the Department of Automatic Control (ESAII). Ramon Costa shares his outlook, “The project modifies the structure of conventional cars to introduce elements that help to recover lost energy and re-inject it into the system. It is made up of two parts: one related to hardware components, and one to software components”.
The whole mechanism is governed by software and the installation of a supercapacitor battery. The supercapacitators assist the battery. Supercapacitators regulate the current peaks. They put a stop to current peaks because that weaken the performance of the battery and also reassign the remaining energy. The software visualizes four operational approaches for the vehicle, which depend on the propulsion system. This technology goes easy on our pockets as we use less fuel and reduces CO2 emissions. In a standard driving cycle, the modifications lead us to 67% less fuel consumption and that will result in 63% less energy consumption than a usual vehicle of the same size with no hybrid apparatus. In addition, it uses 55% less energy than a standard hybrid vehicle.
Toni Font speaks about the possible applications of his proposal, “It could be used in sectors related to energy generation and management that aim to work in the most sustainable and efficient way possible. It could also be applied to the areas of the transport sector that use petrol and diesel motors”.
As a result of this research, Toni Font has received one of the six research grants that Ferrari will award in 2009, in the category of CO2 emissions reduction.