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Hydrostatic regenerative braking reduces fuel consumption

27 June 2011

Hydrostatic regenerative braking (HRB) from Bosch Rexroth can be retrofitted to vehicles - even those that are not equipped with hydraulics. The system stores brake energy in an hydraulic pressure reservoir and relieves the load on the main drive when a vehicle is accelerating, potentially cutting fuel consumption by a quarter.

An hydraulic axial piston unit is coupled to the mechanical drive train via a gearbox. When the brakes are applied, this unit converts kinetic into hydraulic energy and pumps hydraulic fluid into an accumulator, the pressure of which increases each time the brake pedal is depressed.

The stored energy is subsequently returned to assist the transmission, the pressurised hydraulic fluid in the accumulator now serving to actuate the axial piston unit, which works as a motor, converting the stored energy into kinetic energy. The axial piston unit remains coupled to the mechanical drive train until the accumulator is discharged. A valve manifold controls the filling and discharge process and protects the accumulator from excess pressure.

The system is of particular benefit to stop-start vehicle operation (refuse trucks and the like). An electronic controller regulates the HRB, and in 'normal' drive mode it is de-coupled.

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