MIT Team Develops Regenerative Shock Absorbers

The MIT news office reports that a team of undergraduate students there has invented a
shock-absorber system that generates electricity from bumps in the road. Testing found that
a significant amount of energy is wasted in conventional suspensions, especially for heavy
vehicles (such as motorhomes). Students built special prototype shock absorbers which force
hydraulic fluid through a turbine which drives a generator. The system uses active
electronics to deliver a smoother ride than conventional shocks, while generating power to
charge batteries or operate other electrical equipment. They found that on a three-axle
vehicle, each shock absorber could generate up to an average of 1,000 Watts on a typical
road; enough to completely eliminate the large alternator. The group has filed for a patent
and formed a company called Levant Power Corp. to develop the product. Their goal is to
produce a commercial version of the shock by next summer and offer it to fleet customers at
first.

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