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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

 

Joseph Maloney

The Potential to Scale Up and Scale Out a Novel Energy Recovery System

Interest in electric vehicles has spiked as governments worldwide move to ban the production of petrol and diesel cars and adopt targets such as net zero. Although the electric vehicle market is growing, barriers to adoption such as limited range and high ownership costs still exist. Plateaus in battery performance have subsequently led to a demand for technologies which increase vehicle efficiency. One of these is regenerative suspension – a method of recovering energy otherwise dissipated. Prior to this report, a novel regenerative suspension design was prototyped, tested and patented with a system efficiency that could outperform mechanisms proposed by others.  

Despite an abundance of research which has concluded that regenerative suspension is technically viable, there is a lack of analysis which considers its impact in a wider context. This project primarily focuses on quantifying the cost and emissions savings of deploying regenerative suspension in the UK. These have been estimated through a dynamic assessment of the UK car fleet and anticipating the savings obtained from implementing regenerative suspension for various levels of intake of electric cars, carbon intensities of the grid, and the distribution of car speeds on different road types in the UK. It has been shown that regenerative suspension could mitigate the cumulative production of up to 21 Mt CO2 by 2050 in an addressable market worth up to £48 billion. This data subsequently forms the basis for discussion about how this technology addresses the upcoming sustainability challenges and what role it will play as the UK approaches net zero.