Hydraulic Regenerative Braking Saving 52.7% Fuel in BMW 530i

artemis-digital-displacementWho said a car has to be electric to be called a “hybrid”? Artemis Intelligent Power has converted a BMW 530i to mechanically capture the energy resulted from braking (aka “regenerative braking”), and use it in an electrically-hybridized car fashion.

The system is called Digital Displacement, and it was initially developed to harness the irregular wave movements into electricity. The application in cars is based on hydraulic compression when braking occurs. The compressed gas stored in an accumulator is reused when car accelerates, and so the energy wasted while braking is reused in the most power consuming moment of driving. Of course, all these operations are being controlled by an on-board computer all the time, so efficiency is always improved.

Now, the best part comes with the figures they got from using the hydraulic regenerative braking: in a normal BMW 530i, in Europe, instead of a 13.89 l/100km consumption, the car got as much as 52.7% reduction in consumption, meaning it ate up only 6.58 l/100km (!!!). This is probably what the car gets on highway driving! In US, the hybrid car used a third less fuel than its unmodified version.

Waverley Cameron, of Artemis Intelligent Power, told in an Interview taken by The Telegraph that “A lot of people have played with hydraulics for car and trucks, but conventional hydraulics are very inefficient at part-load, when, for example, a car is cruising down the motorway. You can have perfectly good transmission, but if it is not effective at 20 per cent of full power it is a non-starter. What our technology brings is the ability to be efficient at 10 or 20 per cent of full power”.

And that’s what every city car needs. You won’t accelerate like crazy when you drive from home to work (maybe reverse), unless you are a little bit nuts. So it’s clear you’re not going to use more than 20-30% of your car’s power. Adapting this technology to a Prius would make it a double-hybrid: both mechanically and electrically. The hydraulic regenerative braking captures not only the power used by the actual brakes to stop the car, but also the inertia moment, charging the gas accumulator.

Now, let’s fantesize to the extreme: imagine what mileage and autonomy would get a plug-in Prius, with electrical regenerative braking, hydraulical regenerative braking, thermal energy recovery and solar panels on top. The current retrofitted plug-in Priuses get over 100mpg. What mileage would our car get? 200 mpg, maybe?

Think about it.

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  • This sounds like a pretty clever system for vehicles that constantly stop-and-go, e.g. cabs in cities. When implemented, think about how it can benefit everyone down the chain; cabbies save money because this reduces consumption, thus cab companies may want to pass on these savings to the end consumers, encouraging them to take greener rides. Two thumbs up from me!

  • A green car technology company is using wave power to adapt cars, enabling them to use half the fuel of the average saloon car. The system, known as Digital Displacement, was originally developed to convert the irregular movements of waves into a steady stream of energy. The system is also less expensive than the batteries used in existing hybrid vehicles.

  • Paul Yak

    Whenever I read comments for articles discussing Hybrid designs and saving fuel etc, almost all the comments have the common theme that they always act negatively to the design, the inventor and the writer.

    WHY?? I NEVER understand why the average man in the street isn’t jumping over the moon at the thought of driving vehicles as fast, quieter and much more economically. It almost seems as if the people are writing comments from the point of view for either a car maker or the oil companies. I for one love the idea of driving cars with electric/hydraulic/air assisted engines and NOT the extremely inefficient internal combustion/diesel engines.

    One more point, why are we still being made to use very dirty diesel oil to fuel trucks/lorries when the inventor envisaged using peanut oil to power diesel engines. I have used vegetable oil in my car in the UK, and not only was it cheaper, the emissions smelled like frying food with very little smoke. The other reason to use vegetable oil NOT imported diesel fuel is growing a nations oils keeps our farmers in work, the plants use carbon dioxide to grow, growing plants produce oxygen too. WHY are our governments insisting on using foreign fuel to provide dirtier, more expensive products. Because they have shares in the huge oil corporations just like the Bush Presidents always have. DISGUSTING!

  • muna

    im writing a research project on hydraulic regenerative brakes was wondering if i could get all the necessary info i need on it.thanks in anticipation

  • Marty Galyean

    You wrote:
    “Now, let’s fantesize to the extreme: imagine what mileage and autonomy would get a plug-in Prius, with electrical regenerative braking, hydraulical regenerative braking, thermal energy recovery and solar panels on top. The current retrofitted plug-in Priuses get over 100mpg. What mileage would our car get? 200 mpg, maybe?
    Think about it.”

    Whoa there, Sparky!

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too! The energy wasted in braking is the same no matter how many systems are in place to reclaim it! The above paragraph is like saying two migrant workers can harvest twice as many tomatoes from 1 acre than one could when the field is only going to produce so many tomatoes. Ever hear of Thermodynamics? Its not just a good idea, its the Law! All three of them!

  • Marty Galyean

    This is a great technology that was suppressed for years by leftward leaning government programs and hi-tech companies focused on more complicated methods of regeneration.

    And it doesn’t make your entries very easy to parse with sentences such as that, that logically mean the opposite of the case you are trying to make:

    …the car got as much as 52.7% less reduction in consumption, …

    52.7% *less reduction in consumption*. So is had a smaller reduction in its consumption rate? so… it saved *less* fuel than some other obliquely referenced method that I missed?

    Raise the bar man! Struggle to surpass the dumbed down public education this nation doles out!

    Think, speak, and write rationally and concisely and maybe some of these ideas would get better play. But at base, the ideas must sink or swim based on engineering and fiscal merit.

    • Hi Marty,

      Thanks for noticing the typo. You know, I’m not that ignorant as you think, and I struggle not to make typos or logical errors in my writing, but it happens, I’m only a human! 🙂
      Referring to the thermodynamics principles comment: electric regenerative braking systems in hybrid cars already do recover braking energy by producing electricity with the help of the car’s inertia (by spinning a generator). I don’t say we’ll recover 100%, it’s not possible, I know, but if we do our best, we might recover about 60% of it (an estimate figure). What do you say about that? Don’t you think it’s possible? For so many times, mechanical solution were the simplest and the most efficient – and I think it’s the case with this one, also.