Convert waste heat and mechanical vibration into usable energy

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions or the rational use of energy are among the challenges of civilization. Scientists are working on a device that converts wasted heat and unwanted mechanical vibrations into usable electrical energy in response.

Such a device should be a regenerative shock absorber, which can be used, among other things, in modern hybrid and electric cars. The work is being carried out within the framework of the Horizon 2020 funded ‘Electrical Parasitism’ project.

As a member of the international project d. Professor at the University of Silesia in Katowice Mirosوافaw Churovsky, society dissipates a large amount of energy in the form of vibrations (vibrations). “Most of the tools we use every day are equipped with devices to absorb it and convert the associated mechanical energy into heat. These are, for example, automobile shock absorbers, as well as turbines, motors, washing machines and earthquake-resistant structures.

However, current energy recovery methods have low efficiency and other limitations regarding their reliability and durability. “Therefore, the goal of our project is to develop a modern device to convert waste vibrational energy into electricity, while obtaining thermal energy from the environment,” the professor said. Chorążewski.

This acquisition of thermal energy – and he continued – makes it possible to achieve an efficiency greater than 100 percent. “This means that it will be possible to produce more than one unit of electricity from one unit of vibrational energy, thanks to this additional contribution from the conversion of thermal energy obtained from the surrounding environment,” he said.

Commenting on the common use of heat to produce, for example, electricity, he noted that these traditional technologies typically required a high-temperature source. On the other hand, an increasingly common new approach to using environmental thermal energy to heat homes based on heat pumps is to only “transfer” the heat from a low-temperature tank to a tank of higher temperature.

“Our solutions go beyond standard methods of generating electricity from heat, because they allow the use of thermal energy resources at a lower temperature (near the ambient temperature), and then convert it into electricity that can be used for almost any purpose,” – stressed Professor .. Chorążewski.

For this purpose, scientists will use two physical phenomena. “The first is liquid intrusion / extrusion, which is endothermic to the selected liquids and solids (requires thermal energy input / flow to carry out the process), which allows us to obtain heat from the environment, that is, from a source at low temperature. The second is nanoparticle electrification, Which also occurs during the intrusion / extrusion process and allows us to convert heat into electricity. In this way, we can recover the wasted mechanical energy, which today is dissipated in the environment during all human activities and natural phenomena (such as earthquakes) “- he said.

The result of the research is a prototype of regenerative shock absorbers for cars. “Simply put, we will be replacing the interior parts of a regular suspension shock absorber – a mixture of a suitable liquid and a porous granular material. The suspension system designed in this way will simultaneously absorb the mechanical energy of the vehicle’s vibrations, take the thermal energy from the environment and convert all of these energies into electrical current, which in turn is It will take up the car battery. Depending on the type of car the suspension will be installed on – in the case of electric cars, our solution will increase its range, and in the case of classic cars that rely on internal combustion engines, it will reduce fuel consumption ”- said the professor. Chorążewski.

He added that the research included a global manufacturer of shock absorbers, which would be responsible for designing, building, testing, and economic analysis of shock absorbers compared to the classic ones available in the market.

“The European Environment Agency data says that total electricity consumption has decreased by 4%. By 2050 this could be achieved by installing renewable shock absorbers in city cars. We have initially estimated that nanostatic shock absorbers could reduce fuel consumption by about 9%.” . – Summarize.

The project will continue until 2024. The project is funded through the Horizon 2020 program as part of the FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) pre-emptive competition.

As mentioned by prof. Chorążewski, an international association – with the University of Silesia in Katowice – consisting of: Universita degli Studi di Ferrara (Italy), University of Birmingham (Great Britain), National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” (Ukraine) and Tenneco (Belgium). The leader is the Center for Cooperative Research in Alternative Energy (CIC energiGUNE) of the Basque Country Research and Technology Consortium (Spain).

PAP – Science in Poland, Agnieszka Kliks-Pudlik

akp / ekr /

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