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Skeleton Technologies and Adgero introduce ultracap-based KERS system for truck trailers

UK-based ultracapacitor company Skeleton Technologies and France-based Adgero SARL are introducing an ultracapacitor-based Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for truck trailers. The hybrid system is designed to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions by up to 25%, and is optimized for intermodal road transport solutions.

The Adgero Hybrid System consists of a bank of Skeleton high-power ultracapacitors working alongside an electrically-driven axle, which is mounted under the trailer. The technology is controlled by an intelligent management system that tracks driver input in order to automatically control the regenerative braking and acceleration boost.

The technology is projected to reduce fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions by 15-25%, depending on terrain and traffic profile. It will also pay for itself in as little as three years through reduced consumption alone, and where subsidies are available the payback can be even quicker. The product has also been designed to exceed the typical 10-year lifetime of the trailer itself.

Road haulage accounts for over a fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, so fuel efficient solutions are crucial. We are beginning to see regenerative braking systems in automotive applications but the market clearly needs a similar solution for articulated lorries.

—Mack Murray, CEO of Adgero SARL

Skeleton Technologies uses a patented graphene material enabling better conductivity and higher surface area. This material has allowed the company to achieve breakthroughs in product performance, delivering twice the energy density and five times the power density of competitors’ products. (Earlier post.)

Over the last year, Skeleton Technologies has worked with Adgero to adapt an 800V ultracapacitor power module that is proving successful in the motorsport industry to meet the needs of road freight vehicles. The module consists of five 160V units made up of Skeleton Technologies' cylindrical cells. With monitoring for each individual cell, the module is able to actively self-balance.

Adgero’s system will be fully compatible with existing infrastructure and staff training programs. Any truck equipped with an Adgero monitor becomes a parallel electric hybrid when paired with an equipped trailer. If a truck without a monitor picks up a retrofitted trailer, the hybrid system will stay in standby mode.

In recent months the system has been through rigorous testing procedures including vibration, shock and immersion testing. Road testing will begin in 2016 with Altrans, a French logistics company that is part of a trade organisation that represents 11,000 vehicles across Europe. Adgero and Skeleton Technologies then plan to ramp up production, with the objective of producing 8000-10,000 units annually by 2020.

Founded in 2014, Adgero has developed a patent-pending Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for articulated lorries. Following laboratory testing in 2015, Adgero will undertake road tests with one of France’s leading road freight groups in 2016 before entering series production.

Adgero will be exhibiting at the World Efficiency Congress in Paris from October 13 to 15.

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