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NSF Funds Engineering Research Center for Fluid Power

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded funds for the development of an Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CEFP).

CEFP’s mission is to develop compact, low-cost, next-generation, fluid-powered devices—systems that use pressurized liquids or gases to transmit power. Researchers intend to develop a range of new technologies, including hybrid vehicles with efficient fluid power components.

The CEFP is one of five new Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) to which the NSF has awarded a total of $75.3 million.

CEFP is based at University of Minnesota in partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Purdue University and Vanderbilt University. Outreach universities include the Milwaukee School of Engineering and North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT).

Outreach institutions include the National Fluid Power Association, Project Lead the Way, and the Science Museum of Minnesota. The ERC will form partnerships with the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Partnership (LSAMP) headquartered at NCAT, the Tennessee LSAMP headquartered at Tennessee State University; and the AGEP headquartered at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Industry partners will augment NSF funding with $3 million. With help from the National Fluid Power Association, more than 50 companies have agreed to provide support for the research center.

The four other new ERCs are:

  • Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC);
  • Quality of Life Technology Engineering Research Center (QoLT);
  • Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE); and
  • Engineering Research Center for Structured Organic Composites (C-SOC)

Including the new awards, NSF supports 22 Engineering Research Centers in the fields of bioengineering; earthquake engineering; design, manufacturing and processing systems; microelectronic and optical systems and information technology.


allen Z I hear hydraulic hybrids?


I like the idea of pneumatic assist hybrids. The electric motor supplies torque for takeoff in a hybrid, but consumes a lot of energy doing that. You could use air compressed while stopping to assist the electric motor on takeoff. Regenerative braking is only good down to a certain speed, decelleration below that speed could be done by air braking.

allen Z

Pneumatic hybrids are probably preferable only on large diesel vehicles already equipt with air powered brakes. During deceleration, the diesel engine (w/ valve operation modification, temporarily turning it into a 2 stroke air pump) will pump air into the storage tank. The accumulated air is then used to accelerate the truck/bus back up to speed. The compressed air may be used for brakes as well. It may be a competitor to a low end diesel electric hybrid with a capacitor and ordinary battery capacity.
___A hydraulic hybrid may have a weight penalty vs a pneumatic hybrid. However, the ability to do away with the heavy mechanical drive components, and no compressive heat->pressure loss are major advantages. Additionally, with pressure accumulator+diesel+hydraulic CVT, there are many high points for diesel powered vehicles that spend most of their miles in stop and go traffic (sanitation trucks, most city and school buses, tow trucks, delivery trucks, etc).

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