Energy conservation is the need of the hour, due to growing concerns about global warming and its effects on human life. There are two ways – three if you would consider giving up all forms of transport altogether – of minimizing the usage of energy and its consequences: designing powertrains that consume renewable forms of energy and designing systems that retain and recycle some of the energy produced through conventional means or generate an energy surplus in addition to the primary powertrain.
Vehicles running on electricity aren’t exactly new to the automobile world, but energy harvesting goes beyond that. Many vehicles now incorporate two or even more forms of energy generation beyond the main engine.
- An increasingly popular new energy harvesting mechanism is braking energy regeneration, which recycles some of the vehicle’s kinetic energy lost in braking and stores it to be used later. This is a technology imported from the world of motorsport, as is the case with many groundbreaking automotive technologies. Instead of wasting the kinetic energy lost during braking, such a design converts this energy into electricity which can be used later to fill gaps in the power delivery from the primary powertrain.
- On similar lines, energy harvesting shock absorbers are also being conceptualized and developed, though this technology is still quite nascent. Like brakes, shock absorbers act as buffers against excess kinetic energy, resulting in the wastage of the same. Energy harvesting shock absorbers would employ this kinetic energy to produce additional electrical energy.
- Another popular form of energy harvesting utilizes solar power. Many cars nowadays include small solar panels on the roof, which can be used to power auxiliary electronics in the car such as the radio or electric door mirrors or windows. This reduces the workload of the primary powertrain, making the car more fuel-efficient.
- Thermodynamics is another promising form of energy harvesting in vehicles. Normal function of any conventionally powered powertrain produces a significant amount of heat as a side effect, the reduction of which is usually a tough nut to crack for carmakers. Thermodynamics gives the problem a whole new spin by utilizing the heat to produce electric power. This means that, with sufficient technological refinement, the harder you run the engine the more energy you will produce as a perfectly usable surplus.
- In aquatic crafts, the utilization of onboard tidal power generation units is being tested. This, in conjunction with solar power generation, could eventually result in the production of submarines that power up whenever they surface and keep producing additional energy while underwater.
Browse the full Press Release of Global Energy conservation Market: http://www.mrrse.com/energy-harvesting-market-report
The clear environmental benefit of energy harvesting has led governments all over the world to lend generous support to the development of such mechanisms. The energy harvesting market is expected to grow to a value of US$533 billion by 2025 as a result.