Scots energy engineers win £11 million to pioneer next generation of digitally-controlled hydraulic pumps for construction vehicles to cut carbon emissions

Dr Niall Caldwell
Dr Niall Caldwell

A consortium of Scottish energy engineers has secured £11 million from the UK Advanced Propulsion Centre to help develop a new generation of Digital Displacement® hydraulic pumps and motors to be used in off-road vehicles such as excavators, wheel loaders and material handling equipment.

The off-road vehicles of the future may consume less than half the energy used today – thanks to the multi-million project being led by Edinburgh technology firm Artemis Intelligent Power.

Artemis will collaborate with global manufacturer Danfoss – one of the world’s largest suppliers of hydraulic equipment to the off-road market – and Scottish firm Robbie Fluid Engineering.

It’s anticipated the 42-month project – which will be run from the Artemis  base at Loanhead – will bring new skilled jobs and investment in its wake.

The consortium believes the Digital Displacement technology they are developing will radically improve performance and reduce fuel consumption in off-road machines – and even with modest adoption rates, is forecast to make CO2 savings of 10 million tonnes over the first 10 years of commercial operation.

Artemis’ Digital Displacement technology has already been tested in a 16-tonne excavator in a straight swap with the existing hydraulic pump. This initial trial showed fuel savings of over 20 percent and significant improvements in productivity. 

This new project will enable the consortium to make a ‘fully digital’ hydraulic hybrid system. This would completely replace analogue pumps and valves with Digital Displacement technology, including hydraulic accumulator energy storage, to achieve even greater fuel savings.

Niall Caldwell, Artemis Managing Director, explained: “This funding will enable our engineering team to develop Digital Displacement technology as a major component in the $3.5 billion off-road vehicle hydraulic machinery market.

“Off-road vehicles today use hydraulics for propulsion and working functions, such as digging and lifting. But ‘analogue’ hydraulic mechanisms waste energy and are difficult to interface to modern digital control systems, resulting in excess fuel consumption and emissions. 

“Our Digital Displacement® technology utilises a radial piston machine which enables and disables cylinders in real time, using ultra-fast mechatronic valves controlled by an embedded computer.

These intelligent, digital controls mean an Artemis machine is highly controllable and extremely efficient – individual cylinders are only called into action as and when required.”

3 Aug 2018

 

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