Ricardo launching TorqStor high efficiency flywheel energy storage at CONEXPO

At CONEXPO 2014, Ricardo will launch its TorqStor high-speed flywheel energy storage concept which provides a scalable range of energy storage capacities for various applications.

Ricardo Torq Stor Display Modelat Conexpo
Ricardo Logo 10917996

The launch of the Ricardo TorqStor high-speed flywheel energy storage concept at the CONEXPO 2014 show in Las Vegas on March 4 – one of the key events in the international construction industry calendar – underscores the potential value of this low-cost, fuel-saving solution in the construction sector. Ricardo’s unique TorqStor technology combines a modular, high efficiency, carbon-fiber composite construction flywheel with a magnetic coupling and gearing system to provide for a scalable range of energy storage capacities for different equipment applications. Its highly innovative magnetic coupling also enables the unit to operate in a permanently sealed vacuum and permits ease of in-field maintenance for high availability applications.

At CONEXPO 2014, Ricardo will be displaying a 200 kJ capacity TorqStor unit comprised of genuine machined parts fitted in a transparent casing to enable delegates to see the highly innovative internal workings of the system. This unit is identical to the pre-production prototypes currently being prepared by Ricardo for delivery to key OEM and Tier 1 customers; these units are intended both for detailed evaluation and product integration, paving the way for rapid market introduction.

“We are immensely proud to launch the Ricardo TorqStor energy storage concept at CONEXPO 2014,” comments Ricardo VP of Innovation David Rollafson. “While Ricardo has comprehensive technical and integration experience of a wide range of energy storage systems – from super-capacitors and electrical hybrids to accumulator based systems – we believe that the high speed flywheel offers a highly pragmatic and low cost approach to achieving real-world fuel savings in construction equipment operations.”

“In order to allow the adoption of this highly promising technology without delay, I can today announce that we are now accepting orders from OEMs and Tier 1 manufacturers for pre-production units for delivery in the late spring of 2014,” continues Rollafson. “This will provide an early opportunity for detailed evaluation ahead of early series production and the competitive advantage that we believe it will bring to our customers. To get the best from any energy storage technology – and in this respect TorqStor is no different – effective systems integration into the target equipment is vital for success. This is an area in which Ricardo has an extensive track record and can assist.” 

Test validation based on the HFX concept
At the bauma 2013 show Ricardo unveiled its High Efficiency Excavator (HFX) concept which was based on the previous generation of Ricardo high speed flywheel technology to TorqStor. This 17 tonne production excavator was installed with the flywheel unit and tested over a repeated materials handling cycle at a range of different engine speeds. Integration with the machine’s hydraulic systems was of a limited nature but sufficient to demonstrate the benefits that could be expected of a production implementation. While fuel savings were measured across all engine speeds, the results indicated that with the improvements of the new TorqStor device in this application, fuel savings of in the region of 10% would be expected for a well-integrated excavator application of this technology, when used at typical operating speeds. To put this into perspective, this means that approximately half of the total potential energy that is currently wasted in arm/bucket descent is available for storage and re-use, reducing the amount of fuel burned in the engine. Coupled with further improvements to the base machine such as engine downsizing, hydraulic system improvements and ancillary load optimization, the fuel saved could be substantially greater than this. Moreover, while TorqStor integration would be potentially more challenging in a wheeled-loader application, the fuel saving benefits would be expected to be considerably higher than for an excavator application.

Pre-production TorqStor units and display exhibit at CONEXPO
The pre-production prototype TorqStor units are based on a 200 kJ energy storage capacity with a peak power rating of 101 kW and internal flywheel speed of approximately 44,000 rev/min (subject to a total gear ratio of 22:1). The unit is compact, with a package volume of only 221 liters, and lightweight, at less than 100 kg excluding the interfacing hydraulic pump/motor.

The TorqStor unit displayed at the Ricardo booth at CONEXPO 2014 is made up of genuine pre-production prototype parts identical to the units for customer delivery in late spring. The only difference is that the internal components have been housed in a clear plastic casing for visibility.

Delegates wishing to see the TorqStor unit or to discuss their requirements for potential development and equipment integration projects should visit the Ricardo booth #40428, in Central Hall 2.