Regenerative semi-active suspensions can capture the previously dissipated vibration energy and convert it to usable electrical energy for powering on-board electronic devices, while achieve both the better ride comfort and improved road handling performance at the same time when certain control is applied. To achieve this objective, the power electronics interface circuit connecting the energy harvester and the electrical loads, which can perform simultaneous vibration control and energy harvesting function is in need. This paper utilized a buck-boost converter for simultaneous semi-active vibration control and energy harvesting with electromagnetic regenerative shock absorber, which utilizes a rotational generator to converter the vibration energy to electricity. It has been found that when the circuit works in discontinuous current mode (DCM), the ratio between the input voltage and current is only related to the duty cycle of the switch pulse width modulation signal. Using this property, the buck-boost converter can be used to perform semi-active vibration control by controlling the load connected between the terminals of the generator in the electromagnetic shock absorber. While performing the vibration control, the circuit always draw current from the shock absorber and the suspension remain dissipative, and the shock absorber takes no additional energy to perform the vibration control. The working principle and dynamics of the circuit has been analyzed and simulations were performed to validate the concept.
Regenerative/Energy harvesting shock absorbers have a great potential to increase fuel efficiency and provide suspension damping simultaneously. In recent years there’s intensive work on this topic, but most researches focus on electricity extraction from vibration and harvesting efficiency improvement. The integration of electricity generated from regenerative shock absorbers into vehicle electric system, which is very important to realize the fuel efficiency benefit, has not been investigated. This paper is to study and demonstrate the integration of regenerative shock absorber with vehicle alternator, battery and in-vehicle electrical load together. In the presented system, the shock absorber is excited by a shaker and it converts kinetic energy into electricity. The harvested electricity flows into a DC/DC converter which realizes two functions: controlling the shock absorber’s damping and regulating the output voltage. The damping is tuned by controlling shock absorber’s output current, which is also the input current of DC/DC converter. By adjusting the duty cycles of switches in the converter, its input impedance together with input current can be adjusted according to dynamic damping requirements. An automotive lead-acid battery is charged by the DC/DC converter’s output. To simulate the working condition of combustion engine, an AC motor is used to drive a truck alternator, which also charges the battery. Power resistors are used as battery’s electrical load to simulate in-vehicle electrical devices. Experimental results show that the proposed integration strategy can effectively utilize the harvested electricity and power consumption of the AC motor is decreased accordingly. This proves the combustion engine’s load reduction and fuel efficiency improvement.
In the past decade, there has been a dramatic rise of research in the field of energy harvesting from ambient environment, such as mechanical vibrations and dissipated heat. As a key element connecting the harvester and energy storage element in energy harvesting systems, power electronic interface circuitry has drawn significant interests. Abundant research on the power electronic circuits with functions of voltage regulation, optimal power extraction and damping control for energy harvesting systems has been conducted and reported, together with control algorithms and implementations to achieve these functions. This paper reviews the reported concepts for power electronic interface circuits in kinetic energy harvesting systems, such as electromagnetic and piezoelectric harvesters. Power electronic interface circuit concepts included were grouped in the view of energy scale, power flow direction, functionality and complexity. An overview of the power electronic circuit topologies with various functions available for constructing the power electronic interface circuits and problems yet to be solved for kinetic energy harvesting systems is provided by this paper.