Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power

Principal Investigator(s):

Kim Stelson, Professor, Mechanical Engineering


Project summary:

The Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power has seven university members. The lead university is Minnesota. The other members are Illinois, Georgia Tech, Milwaukee School of Engineering, North Carolina A&T, Purdue and Vanderbilt. Non-university members are the National Fluid Power Association, Project Lead the Way and the Science Museum of Minnesota. The center also has sixty industry members. The goals of the center are to dramatically improve the efficiency of fluid power in current applications, to migrate fluid power into the transportation sector by developing the hydraulic hybrid passenger vehicle, and to develop the next generation of human-scale compact fluid power devices. In addition to research, the ERC has extensive education and outreach activities. Transportation activities at the University of Minnesota are focused on the hydraulic hybrid passenger vehicle. Hydraulic hybrid trucks and buses will be introduced into the market soon, but because of the challenges of making the hydraulic components smaller and lighter, the technology is not yet viable for passenger vehicles. The hydraulic hybrid passenger vehicle will have significantly higher fuel efficiency than existing passenger vehicles. Energy is saved by operating the engine under its most efficient conditions, turning the engine off when not needed, and capturing and reusing braking energy using hydraulics. The vehicle will be a test bed for introducing new technologies including compact energy storage and high speed digital on-off control.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2007105
  • Start date: 06/2006
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Environment and Energy