A digital hydraulics system could make offshore wind power and hybrid vehicles viable without government subsidies, say Scottish-based developers Artemis, Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award winners. Jim Drury reports.
Hybrid buses aren't new - but the technology involved can take years to pay for. Scottish company Artemis is changing that. Its Digital Displacement power system uses hydraulics in a unique way. Artemis first used it in this specially adapted BMW. SOUNDBITE (English) MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ARTEMIS, DR NIALL CALDWELL, SAYING: "Conventional electric hybrid mixes the power of the engine with that of an electric motor and an electric battery. In contrast our hydraulic hybrid mixes the power of the engine with a hydraulic motor and a hydraulic battery, which is otherwise known as an accumulator, which stores the energy of braking the vehicle in the form of compressed gas." Hydraulic pumps and motors have always been problematic. But controlling Artemis's displacement pumps and motors with individual cylinders containing electronically-controlled digital valves, has proved reliable. Tests on Edinburgh buses showed fuel savings of 27 percent. SOUNDBITE (English) MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ARTEMIS, DR NIALL CALDWELL, SAYING: "What we're trying to do is make a hybrid technology that is very low cost, it's made with conventional materials such as steel, rather than exotic and rare materials such as lithium, which can really be applied globally to make a hybrid system that pays for itself as a business case, without subsidy, and we think that's the key to making all the world's buses hybrids." Artemis thinks its technology will transform not just low carbon buses and trains but offshore wind power too.