Vanderbilt inventors propose an inexpensive and easy to manufacture hydraulic accumulator. The proposed hydraulic accumulator technology is intended for energy storage. It is superior to current alternatives in that it provides a simple, efficient and relatively cheap method for storing a large amount of energy in a relatively small volume and mass. One example of its application would be in regenerative braking of passenger vehicles (hydraulic hybrid).
The invention is an accumulator, which stores energy by deforming from its original shape in response to the flow of a pressurized hydraulic fluid.
The energy is returned when the fluid flow is reversed, and the accumulator returns to its original shape. This accumulator has higher volumetric and gravimetric energy storage densities then other alternatives. Further, it does not lose efficiency due to heat losses. These characteristics combine to make the proposed device suitable for any application requiring a hydraulic accumulator where mass and occupied volume need to be minimized.
A prototype device is currently undergoing characterization and tests. A conference paper is scheduled for submission in April 2009.
Solicitation of Interest
Vanderbilt University intends to continue research and development of this concept utilizing funding from NSF’s Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power. Concurrently, Vanderbilt solicits licensing and technical interest from industrial members of the ERC for protection and eventual commercialization of this technology.
Changes in manufacturing methods to accommodate the fabrication and implementation of the invention, i.e. manufacturing equipment/facilities will need to be altered or even replaced due to the new and drastically different mechanism employed by this new technology.
Intellectual Property Status
A provisional patent application has been filed by Vanderbilt University.