The hybrid-hydraulic Ford pickup is used as a demonstration and test platform for senior mechanical engineering students, who will redesign the hydraulic system for use on a refuse truck. Its next showcase will be Nov. 5-6 during the UI homecoming parade and at an open house following in the Gauss-Johnson Engineering Building.
The hydraulics captures energy that is normally wasted during braking, which then assists the engine when it works the hardest, during acceleration. By storing and reusing energy, the hybrid is more fuel efficient, which in turn reduces emissions into the air. The Environmental Protection Agency claims that hybrid-hydraulic delivery trucks could reduce fuel consumption by 25-45 percent and tailpipe emissions by 20-30 percent when used in urban areas.
An additional benefit for refuse trucks is significantly
less wear on the brakes in their daily stop-and-go environment. By adding
a redundant braking mechanism, the hydraulics improve safety while recycling
"According to government and industry sources, we are the only university actually building a hybrid-hydraulic vehicle," said Albrecht. "Our team is motivated to learn about cleaner, more efficient vehicles. Its members range from freshman through graduate-level students in various disciplines; they build and test advanced vehicle technologies and then share their lessons with the community."
Undergraduate student team members who accompanied the vehicles to the INEEL Expo include Michael Shurliff, a senior in electrical engineering from Idaho Falls, and Brandon Butsick, a freshman in mechanical engineering from Hamilton, Mont.
Researchers at the National Institute for Advanced Transportation
Technology (NIATT) at UI say one application of this technology could
be improved hydraulic controls. "Control logic is the key to making
hydraulics efficient by reducing undesirable oscillations and controlling
noise," said Don Blackketter, NIATT acting director.
Photo: The University of Idaho displayed two vehicles
recently at the Forum on Transportation Investment in Boise. Pictured
is a hybrid Ford Expedition that students retrofitted.