Two ex-formula one motor racing engineers have developed a device to slash fuel consumption and carbon emissions of road vehicles.
Jon Hilton and Doug Cross have a fully working prototype named the ‘Flybrid’. This device is small light and powerful. It is connected to the transmission system where it captures the energy generated as heat produced in braking, this is energy normally wasted. Seventy percent of this energy is recovered and stored in the flywheel for use when the vehicle steps up speed again, something that would usually require more fuel. Hilton estimates the Flybrid could cut consumption and emissions by thirty-five percent. Flywheel energy storage already exists but as large heavy components in big carriers such as buses.
Hilton and Cross believe that their mechanical Flybrid is much more versatile and cost effective than another form developed by Toyota for its Prius model. The key difference being the higher speed that the Flybrid rotates, making it smaller and lighter than previously possible, so more effective when capturing energy. The Flybrid system weighs only 25 kilos which means it is easily packaged and integrated.
Their aim is for this product to be available in road cars ahead of EU emissions legislation due in 2012 and with the urgent demand for green solutions to environmental problems the Flybrid would be a welcome competitive prospect.