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Published on June 13th, 2008 | by Andrew Williams

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Hydraulic Hybrid Technology Could Rival Batteries

Plug-in hybrid, all-electric or fuel cell? Car-makers are hedging their bets on what will emerge as the next generation engine technology of choice – now it seems another alternative approach could well be set to enter the mix. Scottish engineering firm Artemis Intelligent Power has tested a hybrid system that it claims can cut carbon emissions by 30%, with the added advantage that it is better suited to inter-urban journeys than conventional hybrids like the Toyota Prius.

In common with other hybrids, the system employs a regenerative braking system that stores energy as the vehicle slows down, and feeds it back into the engine as it accelerates. The key innovation is that instead of storing the energy in a battery, the new system stores it in a hydraulic accumulator.

According to Artemis, the system, independently tested in a BMW530i prototype, records superior fuel efficiency because it is only a third of the size and weight of a battery hybrid. The tests also discovered that it doubled fuel efficiency and cut carbon emissions by around a third compared to cars powered by conventional engines.

The compressed-gas technology also beats battery-hybrids at capturing and delivering energy, especially on the open highway. Since conventional hybrids require frequent braking to capture enough energy for major improvements in fuel efficiency, they have sometimes been criticised for their limited value outside urban settings.

A further environmental advantage is that the Artemis system is mostly made up of benign materials such as aluminium, steel and rubber. This means that they contain less hazardous chemicals than batteries and are also cheaper to manufacture.

At the moment, Artemis have not announced any plans to bring the technology to the mainstream, but its chances have been given a significant boost following a move by components giant Bosch Rexroth to snap up the licensing rights. According to Wim Rampen, managing director at Artemis, “with market introduction, it’s Bosch’s territory and commercially sensitive.” Outside the car industry, an unnamed firm has also bought the rights to use the system in off-road agricultural and construction machinery.




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About the Author

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.



  • Sergio

    Keep on truckin’ baby!!!! The more time and money properly invested in investigation the closer we will be

    to living safer and healthier lives. I know the oil companies don’t want it to happen and they’re just putting their think tanks to work (like tobacco companies) to try to convince people that global warming isn’t true. But it is happening so fuck them! They just want to keep making more money. I’ve always asked myself this, if diesel can get such great gas mileage and they’ve been using it in Europe for decades in their sedans, how come we don’t use them hear? Gas companies don’t want us to save money, they want us to fill our gas tanks just as often or more often and they own the government. I’m glad to see there are some people out there that are actually doing something instead of sitting on their asses and waiting for it to happen.

  • Sergio

    Keep on truckin’ baby!!!! The more time and money properly invested in investigation the closer we will be

    to living safer and healthier lives. I know the oil companies don’t want it to happen and they’re just putting their think tanks to work (like tobacco companies) to try to convince people that global warming isn’t true. But it is happening so fuck them! They just want to keep making more money. I’ve always asked myself this, if diesel can get such great gas mileage and they’ve been using it in Europe for decades in their sedans, how come we don’t use them hear? Gas companies don’t want us to save money, they want us to fill our gas tanks just as often or more often and they own the government. I’m glad to see there are some people out there that are actually doing something instead of sitting on their asses and waiting for it to happen.

  • Sergio

    Keep on truckin’ baby!!!! The more time and money properly invested in investigation the closer we will be

    to living safer and healthier lives. I know the oil companies don’t want it to happen and they’re just putting their think tanks to work (like tobacco companies) to try to convince people that global warming isn’t true. But it is happening so fuck them! They just want to keep making more money. I’ve always asked myself this, if diesel can get such great gas mileage and they’ve been using it in Europe for decades in their sedans, how come we don’t use them hear? Gas companies don’t want us to save money, they want us to fill our gas tanks just as often or more often and they own the government. I’m glad to see there are some people out there that are actually doing something instead of sitting on their asses and waiting for it to happen.

  • http://www.greenoptimistic.com Ovidiu S

    The invention itself is interesting. What I don’t understand is why are we investing so much energy in trying to patch what we broke, or deviate on other smaller roads, just to reach the same, old one? I mean: the petrol price is still going to rise, the reserves will still be smaller and smaller, and we’re all going to use something else for energy. People, wake up! Use the Sun’s energy! The Sun is the source power since ages! Its energy is now being converted to electricity, and it’s the cleanest form possible at this time. Fossil fuel also has the Sun as its main source. Think hard! We should use electricity, research how to make better batteries, or split the water to make hydrogen for the fuel cells, if not burn it directly! (temporary step). Fossil fuel must be history. We should not burn anything anymore. Visit The Green Optimistic to read more articles on alternative energy.

  • http://www.greenoptimistic.com Ovidiu S

    The invention itself is interesting. What I don’t understand is why are we investing so much energy in trying to patch what we broke, or deviate on other smaller roads, just to reach the same, old one? I mean: the petrol price is still going to rise, the reserves will still be smaller and smaller, and we’re all going to use something else for energy. People, wake up! Use the Sun’s energy! The Sun is the source power since ages! Its energy is now being converted to electricity, and it’s the cleanest form possible at this time. Fossil fuel also has the Sun as its main source. Think hard! We should use electricity, research how to make better batteries, or split the water to make hydrogen for the fuel cells, if not burn it directly! (temporary step). Fossil fuel must be history. We should not burn anything anymore. Visit The Green Optimistic to read more articles on alternative energy.

  • http://www.greenoptimistic.com Ovidiu S

    The invention itself is interesting. What I don’t understand is why are we investing so much energy in trying to patch what we broke, or deviate on other smaller roads, just to reach the same, old one? I mean: the petrol price is still going to rise, the reserves will still be smaller and smaller, and we’re all going to use something else for energy. People, wake up! Use the Sun’s energy! The Sun is the source power since ages! Its energy is now being converted to electricity, and it’s the cleanest form possible at this time. Fossil fuel also has the Sun as its main source. Think hard! We should use electricity, research how to make better batteries, or split the water to make hydrogen for the fuel cells, if not burn it directly! (temporary step). Fossil fuel must be history. We should not burn anything anymore. Visit The Green Optimistic to read more articles on alternative energy.

  • http://www.greenoptimistic.com Ovidiu S

    The invention itself is interesting. What I don’t understand is why are we investing so much energy in trying to patch what we broke, or deviate on other smaller roads, just to reach the same, old one? I mean: the petrol price is still going to rise, the reserves will still be smaller and smaller, and we’re all going to use something else for energy. People, wake up! Use the Sun’s energy! The Sun is the source power since ages! Its energy is now being converted to electricity, and it’s the cleanest form possible at this time. Fossil fuel also has the Sun as its main source. Think hard! We should use electricity, research how to make better batteries, or split the water to make hydrogen for the fuel cells, if not burn it directly! (temporary step). Fossil fuel must be history. We should not burn anything anymore. Visit The Green Optimistic to read more articles on alternative energy.

  • http://www.greenoptimistic.com Ovidiu S

    The invention itself is interesting. What I don’t understand is why are we investing so much energy in trying to patch what we broke, or deviate on other smaller roads, just to reach the same, old one? I mean: the petrol price is still going to rise, the reserves will still be smaller and smaller, and we’re all going to use something else for energy. People, wake up! Use the Sun’s energy! The Sun is the source power since ages! Its energy is now being converted to electricity, and it’s the cleanest form possible at this time. Fossil fuel also has the Sun as its main source. Think hard! We should use electricity, research how to make better batteries, or split the water to make hydrogen for the fuel cells, if not burn it directly! (temporary step). Fossil fuel must be history. We should not burn anything anymore. Visit The Green Optimistic to read more articles on alternative energy.

  • http://www.greenoptimistic.com Ovidiu S

    The invention itself is interesting. What I don’t understand is why are we investing so much energy in trying to patch what we broke, or deviate on other smaller roads, just to reach the same, old one? I mean: the petrol price is still going to rise, the reserves will still be smaller and smaller, and we’re all going to use something else for energy. People, wake up! Use the Sun’s energy! The Sun is the source power since ages! Its energy is now being converted to electricity, and it’s the cleanest form possible at this time. Fossil fuel also has the Sun as its main source. Think hard! We should use electricity, research how to make better batteries, or split the water to make hydrogen for the fuel cells, if not burn it directly! (temporary step). Fossil fuel must be history. We should not burn anything anymore. Visit The Green Optimistic to read more articles on alternative energy.

  • Colin

    “conventional hybrids require frequent braking to capture enough energy for major improvements in fuel efficiency”

    This is not true. Conventional hybrids would get far better mileage if they never used their brakes at all. Energy recovered during deceleration can never exceed that which was expended during acceleration due to conservation of energy. There are also losses of energy to heat and friction in the regeneration system.

    Traveling at higher speeds requires more energy due to increased wind resistance so we should expect all cars to get better mileage at lowers speeds. But starting and stopping in cities wastes so much energy that conventional cars actually get better mileage on the highway.

    If cars could travel at city speeds without ever braking, hybrids would offer no mileage advantage over their conventional counterparts.

  • Colin

    “conventional hybrids require frequent braking to capture enough energy for major improvements in fuel efficiency”

    This is not true. Conventional hybrids would get far better mileage if they never used their brakes at all. Energy recovered during deceleration can never exceed that which was expended during acceleration due to conservation of energy. There are also losses of energy to heat and friction in the regeneration system.

    Traveling at higher speeds requires more energy due to increased wind resistance so we should expect all cars to get better mileage at lowers speeds. But starting and stopping in cities wastes so much energy that conventional cars actually get better mileage on the highway.

    If cars could travel at city speeds without ever braking, hybrids would offer no mileage advantage over their conventional counterparts.

  • Colin

    “conventional hybrids require frequent braking to capture enough energy for major improvements in fuel efficiency”

    This is not true. Conventional hybrids would get far better mileage if they never used their brakes at all. Energy recovered during deceleration can never exceed that which was expended during acceleration due to conservation of energy. There are also losses of energy to heat and friction in the regeneration system.

    Traveling at higher speeds requires more energy due to increased wind resistance so we should expect all cars to get better mileage at lowers speeds. But starting and stopping in cities wastes so much energy that conventional cars actually get better mileage on the highway.

    If cars could travel at city speeds without ever braking, hybrids would offer no mileage advantage over their conventional counterparts.

  • Colin

    Also, the Ford F-350 “Tonka” concept which was introduced in 2002 used a similar system capable of providing 250 horsepower for taking off from a dead stop. Unfortunately 6 years later it has not gone into production.

    http://www.designnews.com/article/CA220671.html

  • Colin

    Also, the Ford F-350 “Tonka” concept which was introduced in 2002 used a similar system capable of providing 250 horsepower for taking off from a dead stop. Unfortunately 6 years later it has not gone into production.

    http://www.designnews.com/article/CA220671.html

  • Paul Cummings

    Do not discount this just becaues you are perceiving its use only in gas or gas-hybrid cars- it is still a method to recapture energy and, like current regenerative braking that stores this recaptured energy in battery form, it can also be used in Electric, or plug-in Electric hybrid, vehicles- it is just a different method of storing and reusing the captured energy. I think Popular Science also mentioned this technology a few months ago in the ‘What’s New’ section in case you are looking for other citations.

  • Paul Cummings

    Do not discount this just becaues you are perceiving its use only in gas or gas-hybrid cars- it is still a method to recapture energy and, like current regenerative braking that stores this recaptured energy in battery form, it can also be used in Electric, or plug-in Electric hybrid, vehicles- it is just a different method of storing and reusing the captured energy. I think Popular Science also mentioned this technology a few months ago in the ‘What’s New’ section in case you are looking for other citations.

  • Paul Cummings

    Do not discount this just becaues you are perceiving its use only in gas or gas-hybrid cars- it is still a method to recapture energy and, like current regenerative braking that stores this recaptured energy in battery form, it can also be used in Electric, or plug-in Electric hybrid, vehicles- it is just a different method of storing and reusing the captured energy. I think Popular Science also mentioned this technology a few months ago in the ‘What’s New’ section in case you are looking for other citations.

  • Henry Gibson

    The US GOV is testing a Hydraulic Hybrid with United Parcel Service. A prototype hydraulic hybrid car preceeded the commercial test. New technology, including a pump/motor with electronic valves can make the hydraulic part very efficient. Such units actually stored their energy in compressed gas. In spite of the possible high efficiency of parallel hybrids for constant high speed freeway travel, serial hybrids allow for smaller engines operating at more constant speeds and much higher efficiency. The smaller engines can be designed for far higher speeds with much more power per pound than an engine that has to drive a gearbox after a stop at a stop sign.

    Ultra-Capacitors and compressed air in a small tank, both have high power but less energy than the single battery in a regular truck, even in their largest sizes. Air tanks that pressurise hydraulic fluid can give high acceleration and fast stopping at least cost. Parry People Movers make serial hybrid rail trolleys that have a large flywheel for energy storage. Two will be finished later this year to take over service now provided by diesel multiple unit trains, but with far less fuel comsumption and noise. A prototype unit was already tested for this sevice over several weeks.

    ZEBRA batteries, available commercially for ten years now, are price competative with LiION and have the same energy. They are perfect for converting a Prius to plug in operation with a tested method that still uses the standard battery pack. They are even economical compared to the price of gasoline which they were not when CARB dropped the ZEV rerquirement to favor fuel cells. Large scale automated production can reduce the cost far more, and they are far simpler to control and keep cool. If the ZEBRA should happen to freeze up after a period of not being plugged in, the Prius can operate in regular hybrid mode until the battery is “thawed”(=500 F.). Energy is frozen into the battery forever until it is thawed. The ZEBRA is being used in cars, trucks and buses all over the world. WE have all the necessary battery technology for electric cars but we don’t have mass production for low cost. TH!NK is leasing ZEBRA batteries and LiION ones to reduce the upfront costs. If you don’t use a car much, economically it does not pay to own an electric car, but it never paid to own a HUMMER or a House etc. anyway.

  • Henry Gibson

    The US GOV is testing a Hydraulic Hybrid with United Parcel Service. A prototype hydraulic hybrid car preceeded the commercial test. New technology, including a pump/motor with electronic valves can make the hydraulic part very efficient. Such units actually stored their energy in compressed gas. In spite of the possible high efficiency of parallel hybrids for constant high speed freeway travel, serial hybrids allow for smaller engines operating at more constant speeds and much higher efficiency. The smaller engines can be designed for far higher speeds with much more power per pound than an engine that has to drive a gearbox after a stop at a stop sign.

    Ultra-Capacitors and compressed air in a small tank, both have high power but less energy than the single battery in a regular truck, even in their largest sizes. Air tanks that pressurise hydraulic fluid can give high acceleration and fast stopping at least cost. Parry People Movers make serial hybrid rail trolleys that have a large flywheel for energy storage. Two will be finished later this year to take over service now provided by diesel multiple unit trains, but with far less fuel comsumption and noise. A prototype unit was already tested for this sevice over several weeks.

    ZEBRA batteries, available commercially for ten years now, are price competative with LiION and have the same energy. They are perfect for converting a Prius to plug in operation with a tested method that still uses the standard battery pack. They are even economical compared to the price of gasoline which they were not when CARB dropped the ZEV rerquirement to favor fuel cells. Large scale automated production can reduce the cost far more, and they are far simpler to control and keep cool. If the ZEBRA should happen to freeze up after a period of not being plugged in, the Prius can operate in regular hybrid mode until the battery is “thawed”(=500 F.). Energy is frozen into the battery forever until it is thawed. The ZEBRA is being used in cars, trucks and buses all over the world. WE have all the necessary battery technology for electric cars but we don’t have mass production for low cost. TH!NK is leasing ZEBRA batteries and LiION ones to reduce the upfront costs. If you don’t use a car much, economically it does not pay to own an electric car, but it never paid to own a HUMMER or a House etc. anyway.

  • Henry Gibson

    The US GOV is testing a Hydraulic Hybrid with United Parcel Service. A prototype hydraulic hybrid car preceeded the commercial test. New technology, including a pump/motor with electronic valves can make the hydraulic part very efficient. Such units actually stored their energy in compressed gas. In spite of the possible high efficiency of parallel hybrids for constant high speed freeway travel, serial hybrids allow for smaller engines operating at more constant speeds and much higher efficiency. The smaller engines can be designed for far higher speeds with much more power per pound than an engine that has to drive a gearbox after a stop at a stop sign.

    Ultra-Capacitors and compressed air in a small tank, both have high power but less energy than the single battery in a regular truck, even in their largest sizes. Air tanks that pressurise hydraulic fluid can give high acceleration and fast stopping at least cost. Parry People Movers make serial hybrid rail trolleys that have a large flywheel for energy storage. Two will be finished later this year to take over service now provided by diesel multiple unit trains, but with far less fuel comsumption and noise. A prototype unit was already tested for this sevice over several weeks.

    ZEBRA batteries, available commercially for ten years now, are price competative with LiION and have the same energy. They are perfect for converting a Prius to plug in operation with a tested method that still uses the standard battery pack. They are even economical compared to the price of gasoline which they were not when CARB dropped the ZEV rerquirement to favor fuel cells. Large scale automated production can reduce the cost far more, and they are far simpler to control and keep cool. If the ZEBRA should happen to freeze up after a period of not being plugged in, the Prius can operate in regular hybrid mode until the battery is “thawed”(=500 F.). Energy is frozen into the battery forever until it is thawed. The ZEBRA is being used in cars, trucks and buses all over the world. WE have all the necessary battery technology for electric cars but we don’t have mass production for low cost. TH!NK is leasing ZEBRA batteries and LiION ones to reduce the upfront costs. If you don’t use a car much, economically it does not pay to own an electric car, but it never paid to own a HUMMER or a House etc. anyway.

  • Raphael Zhu

    Hi,gentlmen,I’ve done a research on hydraulic Hybrid on a family car for a few years already and made several prototypes. It has better gas saving then HEV but much cheaper and safer. If you have any question about it, please send me an email or just come to Beijing, China, you can drive my HH car, It’s really interesting.

  • Raphael Zhu

    Hi,gentlmen,I’ve done a research on hydraulic Hybrid on a family car for a few years already and made several prototypes. It has better gas saving then HEV but much cheaper and safer. If you have any question about it, please send me an email or just come to Beijing, China, you can drive my HH car, It’s really interesting.

  • http://www.economicefficiency.blogspot.com WillG

    Great article!!!

    I am really into hydraulic hybrids and saw one of the UPS trucks in Sterling, Virginia.

    I read a great article about it on http://www.economicefficiency.blogspot.com titled “Hybrid Hummer Hums.”

    Good to hear BWM is doing some work on it also!

  • http://www.economicefficiency.blogspot.com WillG

    Great article!!!

    I am really into hydraulic hybrids and saw one of the UPS trucks in Sterling, Virginia.

    I read a great article about it on http://www.economicefficiency.blogspot.com titled “Hybrid Hummer Hums.”

    Good to hear BWM is doing some work on it also!

  • Todd

    Hey why not just use both

    elec powers hydralic pump trickling into accumulator,

    regenerative brakes, carbon fibre storage tanks, solar tiny trickling high pressure pump, or have multiple tanks; fill them 3/4 with fluid individually then attach a high pressure gas to them, 100psi maybe insufficent but maybe got to servo charge your air tanks, of course when the fluid is spent out of a tank you drop the air pressure for refilling.

  • Todd

    Hey why not just use both

    elec powers hydralic pump trickling into accumulator,

    regenerative brakes, carbon fibre storage tanks, solar tiny trickling high pressure pump, or have multiple tanks; fill them 3/4 with fluid individually then attach a high pressure gas to them, 100psi maybe insufficent but maybe got to servo charge your air tanks, of course when the fluid is spent out of a tank you drop the air pressure for refilling.

  • Todd

    Hey why not just use both

    elec powers hydralic pump trickling into accumulator,

    regenerative brakes, carbon fibre storage tanks, solar tiny trickling high pressure pump, or have multiple tanks; fill them 3/4 with fluid individually then attach a high pressure gas to them, 100psi maybe insufficent but maybe got to servo charge your air tanks, of course when the fluid is spent out of a tank you drop the air pressure for refilling.

  • Todd

    need more fluid just add some bike pedals attached to a hydraulic pump.

    the best invention atm would be a variable output hydralic pump, one that could at the same rpm produce different amounts of fluid.

    that way you could use it like an accelerator more fluid more power less fluid less power, but still achieving a wide vehicle speed range

  • Todd

    need more fluid just add some bike pedals attached to a hydraulic pump.

    the best invention atm would be a variable output hydralic pump, one that could at the same rpm produce different amounts of fluid.

    that way you could use it like an accelerator more fluid more power less fluid less power, but still achieving a wide vehicle speed range

  • Todd

    need more fluid just add some bike pedals attached to a hydraulic pump.

    the best invention atm would be a variable output hydralic pump, one that could at the same rpm produce different amounts of fluid.

    that way you could use it like an accelerator more fluid more power less fluid less power, but still achieving a wide vehicle speed range

  • Matt G

    Back about nine years now I saw a small article in Popular Science or Popular Mechanics that said Ford was going to put a hydraulic regenerative braking system in some of its new line up of trucks. Guess that never happened, but I’ve been waiting to see more about this great tech ever since.

  • Matt G

    Back about nine years now I saw a small article in Popular Science or Popular Mechanics that said Ford was going to put a hydraulic regenerative braking system in some of its new line up of trucks. Guess that never happened, but I’ve been waiting to see more about this great tech ever since.

  • Matt G

    Back about nine years now I saw a small article in Popular Science or Popular Mechanics that said Ford was going to put a hydraulic regenerative braking system in some of its new line up of trucks. Guess that never happened, but I’ve been waiting to see more about this great tech ever since.

  • http://is.gd/Fo2/313889575 design

    Please make my car go 100mpg. Signed: America.

  • http://is.gd/Fo2/313889575 design

    Please make my car go 100mpg. Signed: America.

  • http://betterconstructed.com JohnLewisMealer

    We have the key to this system patented…

    Expect MealerAMC to be the next major US Automaker.

    Say goodbye to the UAW and AFL-CIO.

  • http://betterconstructed.com JohnLewisMealer

    We have the key to this system patented…

    Expect MealerAMC to be the next major US Automaker.

    Say goodbye to the UAW and AFL-CIO.

  • http://betterconstructed.com JohnLewisMealer

    We have the key to this system patented…

    Expect MealerAMC to be the next major US Automaker.

    Say goodbye to the UAW and AFL-CIO.

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