Student-Invented, Electricity Generating Shock Absorbers Get Commercialized

Levant Power, a company out of Cambridge, MA, has commercialized technology that generates electricity from vehicle shock absorbers. Last we heard of these guys, their GenShock devices were in the wee prototype phase, barely a vision in their MIT student eyes. Their design uses the conventional piston shock absorber, but adds small internal parts within the cylinder that spin when they are pushed through the inner lubricant and generate an electric current.

The moving parts turn a small generator integrated into the shock absorber. The amount of electricity generated is not huge, but it’s an easy way to bump up fuel efficiency without require drastic changes. Initial tests have been conducted with military Humvees because in large vehicles the shock action is significant due to their weight, rough-riding capabilities, and speed. In fact, their technology works best with vehicles like Humvees and, as we indicated the last time we covered the company, they are targeting military applications.

It also is sensible that having onboard power generation could be a real advantage in military situations where troops are moving in remote areas without readily available fuel sources. Conserving fuel in those scenarios, especially during combat, could be the difference between life and death. There is some discussion taking place about the potential of adding their technology to the Humvee’s replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.

What comes to mind quickly for non-military applications, is the commercial trucking industry. While they typically run trucks over roadways, their payloads of tens of thousands of pounds couple even with small, constant movements might generate a fair amount of electricity with shock absorber generators. The company says their technology when used with commercial trucks could pay for itself in 18 months due to fuel cost reduction.

Last year the MIT students calculated that Wal-Mart could save $13 million per year by using regenerative shock absorbers on their commercial fleet.

Could their technology be applied to motorcycles, and bicycles? There could be a market for charging a wireless device while riding a bike, or powering a stereo while motorcycling.

Source: Technology Review

Image Credit: Levant Power


Jake Richardson

Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Google Plus.