Clean energy-efficient motion systems

This research focuses on creating electric and hybrid powertrains that generate double energy gains as they consume less energy and also re-use energy that would otherwise go lost. The main energy consumers are transport (35%) and industry (30%). As for transport, we are heading for green and sustainable mobility solutions, that is a fact. Both electric and hybrid vehicles and drive systems will play a crucial part in this. In the industry, electromechanical drive systems are the big energy spenders, good for almost 2/3rd of the total energy consumption within the industry. Our ultimate goal is increasing the efficiency of electromechanical drive systems so that they do no longer consume more than is strictly necessary for their proper functioning.

Projects

ENERGY-CONSCIOUS DESIGN – WASTE HEAT RECOVERY

To be able to meet the ever stricter environmental standards, vehicle manufacturers try to reduce the energy consumption of cars. The reuse of excess heat generated in cars plays an important part in these processes. Flanders Make wants to assist Flemish vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers with knowledge as well as a methodology for designing systems that efficiently use waste heat to limit the overall energy consumption of vehicles. This project started in May 2014 and ran up to March 2017.

 

OPTIMAL COOLING OF POWER ELECTRONICS AND OTHER HIGH-POWER DENSITY ELECTRIC COMPONENTS

In order to warrant the useful life span and correct operation of machines, efficient heat management is quite an important consideration, particularly following the clustering of centralised heat sources and increased heat development resulting from higher requirements. However, knowledge on the design of cooling systems for powertrains is still too fragmented and not yet readily available. This project wants to enable mechatronic designers to develop cooling systems that take into account various conditions such as temperature, energy consumption and application. This not only allows for a faster market introduction but also leads to machines that are more efficient, smaller and more reliable. This should provide Flemish manufacturers with a competitive advantage. This project ran from June 2014 up to December 2016.

 

INTEGRATED CONTROL OF MULTIPLE-MOTOR AND MULTIPLE-STORAGE FULLY ELECTRIC VEHICLES

To improve the energy efficiency of vehicles, we developed and integrated in this project a supervisory controller that intelligently monitors and optimises energy balance, thermal load, driving behaviour and vehicle dynamics. To this end, the controller uses, among others, cloud-harvested data. This research project ran from October 2013 up to and including September 2016 and was executed in a European consortium. Flanders Make was among others responsible for developing the knowledge on how to connect the efficient energy consumption of electric vehicles to real-time traffic and other information, including the associated safety aspects. This knowledge is made available to the vehicle and mobility industry in Flanders.

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ENERGY EFFICIENCY MANAGEMENT FOR VEHICLES AND MACHINES

In this European project, Flanders Make focused on research into spring-assisted motions in oscillating powertrains such as looms. Mechanical and magnetic springs were compared with one another using a laboratory set-up. Magnetic springs offer the advantage of a much higher life span, which is very important for looms. This project also included the design of a prototype of a new type of magnetic spring. The experimental validation has shown that by adding the magnetic spring the consumption of an oscillating electric motor could be reduced by a factor of 6 while the maximum torque was reduced by a factor of 3.

 
EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES IN MULTI-PORT SYSTEMS FOR ENERGY-EFFICIENT DRIVETRAINS

With this project, Flanders Make wants to make the development of energy-efficient drive systems more cost-efficient and compact. The implementation of emerging technologies such as Electrically Variable Transmissions (EVT), Multi-Port Converters (MPC) and Wide-Bandgap Semiconductors (WBS) has made it possible to improve the energetic and dynamic performances of powertrains. Research must increase the understanding of the thermal, electric and electromagnetic properties of these multi-port subsystems and, as such, provide insight in how these should be designed. This should result in an optimally integrated design (in terms of dimensions, weight and cost) and a better energy management of such drive systems.

 

POWER REDUCTION IN OSCILLATING DRIVETRAINS BY FAST ENERGY

Drivetrains performing very dynamic pathways with oscillating movements usually require specific components and an energy source to be able to deliver and absorb high power peaks. So as to be able to design applications with oscillating movements faster, in a more energy-efficient way and at a lower investment cost, a rapid energy storage system – such as a flywheel or a spring – may offer a suitable solution. This research focuses on the development of such integrated and model-based design methodology and runs from February 2016 to January 2018. The project allows to integrate a rapid system for storing energy from peak powers. It also ensures an optimal balance between the functional performances, power quality and lifetime of the storage component.