Issue: September/October 2012
Parker Hannifin’s new hybrid drivetrain offers diesel-hogs an environmental boost.
A lot of wasted energy stays at the curb every time one of those lumbering garbage trucks squeals to a standstill before scooping up the next load of trash.
Parker Hannifin — a $12 billion Cleveland company known for innovations in aviation and now energy solutions — has created a way for these mechanical dinosaurs to recycle that braking energy back into forward momentum. Using the company’s RunWise Advanced Series Hybrid Drive System, a garbage truck conserves up to 50 percent more fossil fuel.
“It reduces our dependence on foreign oil and just makes for a greener planet — less emissions,” explains Rich Kimpel, the head engineer at the Parker Hannifin’s Hybrid Drive Systems division, which opened in Columbus last year. Having worked on the technology for the past eight years, Kimpel drives to the branch every week from his home in Middleburg Heights
He says one hybrid garbage truck on the road reduces emissions by up to 55 tons per year, the equivalent of planting 1,300 trees. There’s less wear and tear on the engine and brakes as well. The new division has already supplied the greater Miami area with RunWise Systems on 16 Autocar E3 garbage/recycling trucks.
Parker Hannifin began developing the technology in 2003, in the midst of the Iraq War and soaring oil prices, based off the prior research of a Volvo subsidiary it bought in the 1990s.
“At the time I think half the fuel in our country was used by trucks, and that’s what this product really works well on, stop-and-go trucks,” Kimpel says.
A conventional vehicle’s kinetic energy turns into heat when the brakes are applied, but RunWise converts that inertia into stored energy rather than wasting it. The system makes it so brakes only need to be replaced once in the lifetime of the truck, providing significant maintenance savings.
B. Hydraulic Pumps:
The kinetic energy that is captured while braking powers the system’s hydraulic pumps, which compress nitrogen gas in the accumulator that propels the truck to its next stop. “We can return 70 percent of that braking energy, normally wasted, back to the road,” Kimpel says.
“It’s the equivalent of a battery in an electric hybrid,” Kimpel explains. Fully charged, it holds 5,400 PSI of compressed nitrogen gas. That’s plenty to push the truck to its next stop, or to 20 miles per hour, at which point the engine takes over.
D. Hybrid controller:
The system’s brain uses complex algorithms to determine when to switch from the internal combustion engine to the greener power source. All the driver has to do is step on the accelerator and brakes.
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