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You are here:
PureEnergySystems.com > Radio > Free Energy Now > Dec. 30, 2006

Top 100
Nova Technologies Pursuing Self-Charging Vehicle Technology

Institute claims to be developing a "self-recharging electric vehicle, capable of converting ambient energy sources into usable electrical power efficiently enough to power a 1,500 pound vehicle at highway speeds for unlimited distances without the combustion of any kind of fuel or emission of any exhaust."


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SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, USA -- On Saturday, December 30, 2006, Sterling D. Allan conducted a live interview of David G. Yurth, who is the Director of Science and Technology at the Nova Institute of Technology, whose purpose is to champion the germination, incubation and commercialization of sustainable leading edge technologies.

After nine years of reviewing several hundred technologies, the institute is presently focusing on a small handful of technologies, several of which are energy-related.

Self-Recharging Electric Vehicle

The interview focused on the "self-recharging electric vehicle" (SREV), that will be "capable of converting ambient energy sources into usable electrical power efficiently enough to power a 1,500 pound vehicle at highway speeds for unlimited distances without the combustion of any kind of fuel or emission of any exhaust." (Ref.)

Conceived ten years ago, only more recently has substantial progress been made now that many of the enabling technologies needed to support its design are finally emerging in usable, sufficiently matured embodiments.

The following is an excerpt from a document produced by Yurth describing the SREV technology.

General Discussion – Phase I:

Today, we have assembled all the requisite elements needed to achieve this goal, if only at nominal levels of performance. We have integrated several supportive technologies into the Phase I design, all of which taken together are intended to serve the purpose of converting various forms of ambient energy to usable electrical current, which in turn can be used to support the platform's power requirements in one way or another. Taken together as a package, we plan to build (3) iterations of an integrated rolling prototype system which include the following elements:

  1. DiMattΤ Freon-Rotary Engine Power Generator system.
  2. Deep discharge Lithium-ion polymer rechargeable batteries.
  3. Super-capacitors, to support short term high output and rapid recharge requirements.
  4. Thermal-electric generator [TEG] modules, which convert ambient road-surface heat to usable electric power.
  5. Peltier thermal-electric cooling modules [TCM] devices, which convert low voltage dc current to provide heated and cooled surfaces.
  6. LumeloidΤ Photovoltaic films, which convert sunlight to usable electric power.
  7. In-Wheel Permanent Magnetic Motor propulsion systems.
  8. Regenerative braking systems, to recapture dissipated energy from angular momentum.
  9. Computer controlled energy management systems.
  10.  Piezoelectric energy conversion devices to convert road noise, chassis vibration, laminar air flow, suspension flexing, coasting, braking, angular and kinetic energy to usable battery power.
  11. State-of-the-art kit cars with polycarbonate body components, alloyed aluminum chassis, electronic steering and suspension components, adapted and designed with aerodynamics, weight and other characteristics to meet performance specifications.
  12. 18" – 22" wheels with low resistance urethane tires adapted to our use.

There are a number of technological and engineering challenges associated with marrying all these pieces together to perform a seamless set of self-leveling power management functions in a single platform. I have assembled a team to support the construction, testing and optimization of this platform, and am satisfied that once we have asked all the right questions we will be able to sort the answers out in a way that should meet our mission objectives.

Design Issues:

In order to meet the performance levels mandated by design specifications, we have opted to integrate a number of off-the-shelf components to provide power input, energy conversion, energy recovery and power usage curves sufficient to make the design specifications achievable.

Overall Specifications:

It is a central element of our design strategy that the ancillary system components be design-engineered to function at high enough efficiencies to power the motors and other system components on their own, without relying on battery-supplied power, at 80% of the daylight hours, with sufficient reserves and recapture capabilities to support night driving as well. While this specification constitutes a significant design-engineering challenge (as far as I know, no one has achieved this level of energy efficiency yet), we believe it is achievable with existing technologies. In the event we are able to supplant any one of the integrated system technologies with a state-of-the-art breakthrough option, either made by others or developed on our own, the viability of this design will never again be in question. As it now stands, we believe we can meet our design objectives with the enabling technologies currently available.

The concept as embodied in this undertaking combines stand-alone elements and sub-system components to perform a fully integrated set of functions. In the Phase I integration, we are assuming that the total vehicle weight with all systems on board and two adult passengers will be approximately 1,500 pounds. The package is intended to produce 40 bhp via (4) matched high torque permanent magnetic in-wheel rotor motors, which consume a total 60 amps/hour of power at full acceleration, and which operate at 65% capacity while maintaining highway speeds ranging between 60-75 mph over normal terrain. This estimate makes some baseline assumptions regarding a number of resistance coefficients which remain to be tested in the lab and on the road, but which are consistent with the nominal values deemed standard to the EV industry.

Freon-Rotary Power GeneratorΤ system:

The Freon-Rotary Vapor Engine developed by DiMatt Industries is a patent-protected proprietary device developed over the past decade by its inventor and designer, Matthew Schadeck . This system includes a 6" diameter 4-cycle rotary piston vapor engine comprised of 11 parts. It provides maximum torque at 500 rpm by converting vapor pressure to angular momentum. This device is in the advanced design development stage. It has been thoroughly tested by Primary Technologies of Dixon, Illinois, in various sizes and applications, ranging from 3" diameter to 36" diameter applications, driven by air pressure, saturated steam, hydraulic fluids and pre-heated gases. Its operating efficiency ranges from 42% to 64%, depending on the type of applications and vapor used to power it.  In the present instance, our estimate is that we will be able to operate this device in a 6" configuration at upwards of 50% efficiency to produce 25 Kwatts continuous 12 volt d.c., which roughly converts to 40 bhp at the wheels.

The heart of the concept is to produce an electrical power generating system which can be supplied by other than fossil fuel sources, to re-charge the batteries and drive the EV systems. M. Schadeck et al have designed, developed, built and tested prototypes and agreed to license this proprietary technology to us for its exclusive worldwide use in all applications, according to the terms and conditions of the agreements between Schadeck and us.

Freon HFC-134a

The FWR rotary generator system derives its power from the transition gasification expansion coefficient intrinsic to Freon type HFC-134a, which develops very high head pressures. This attribute is one of the reasons this type Freon has been largely abandoned by the refrigeration industry – this material is not particularly efficient for cooling purposes but is ideally suited for our use since high head pressures are preferred. HFC-134a is not environmentally safe and has been observed to exert an ozone-depleting effect if released into the atmosphere, so this is a technical challenge we must resolve. It also has the disadvantage of being somewhat corrosive with respect to certain metals, plastics, gasket materials and tubing, so our choice of materials will require competent engineering support.

High Output Generator [25 Kw @ 200 amps]

Attached to the DiMatt engine is a high-output marine quality 24 volt d.c. alternator assembly which produces 200 amps continuous output at 1800 rpm. This is an off-the-shelf technology which will eventually be replaced in Phase II by an alternator of our own design, which relies on advanced permanent magnetic rotor and phase management technologies to produce higher output with lower torque at lower rpm. The phase II generator will be designed to produce maximum output at a shaft speed designed to match the shaft speed of the vapor engine. Bench-tested models consisting of a 6" DiMatt vapor engine and this type of generator have been shown to produce in excess of 25,000 watts, or the equivalent of 40 – 60 bhp, under controlled laboratory conditions.

Energy Conversion to Pre-heat Freon @ Input

The purpose of this system component is pivotal to the success of the overall design. Heat supplied at the input orifice, which is used to convert Freon held in liquid form under pressure in a reservoir, will be supplied by a variety of devices, including the Peltier-TEG chip array suspended from the bottom surface of the vehicle, together with an ancillary array of photovoltaic cells, super-capacitors and Series 1 batteries. The unit has been designed to operate at a single, consistent speed while it generates the electricity needed to recharge the batteries. Accordingly, even while the vehicular package is stationery and not in use, this system component will continue to operate as needed until the battery banks and other system energy accumulator devices are fully charged.

Deep discharge Li-Ion Polymer Rechargeable Batteries:

In order to meet our power supply demands, the battery banks must supply 60 amp-hours of power on demand for upwards of 8 hours. The only ubiquitously available type of batteries capable of tolerating continuous, rapid, deep discharge and quick recharge of this magnitude are the sealed gel-cell Li-ion polymer batteries currently employed for industrial and marine applications. Rated at 130 amp-hours each, these batteries will support deep discharge, rapid output demands for up to 85% of their total charge coefficient. These devices are guaranteed by the manufacturer not to fail for at least 300,000 full recharge cycles. If we assume a nominal efficiency rating  of nor more than 60% for these batteries in a combination of parallel and series arrays, our platform will require a minimum of 12 such devices. Our Phase I design calls for 12 of these devices, arranged in primary, secondary and tertiary alignments in order to meet the rapid recharge, load bank power accumulation and rapid discharge specifications designed into the system.

The combined mass of these batteries is expected to be approximately 435 pounds, with a total capacity for sustained discharge ranging from 1,500 to 1,800 amp-hours without recharge, depending on operating temperatures and other environmental conditions.

Super Capacitors

The patented Traction Super-capacitor Battery (TSB) manufactured by Chief Group [for example] is used as a supplemental power supply for massive electric carriages and electric loaders instead of conventional batteries. It takes only 13 to 15 minutes to fully recharge the TSB. After that, the electric carriage will transport a cargo of two tons over a distance of up to five kilometers. It will carry a cargo of one ton over a distance of 7.5 kilometers. In practice in industrial applications, this device requires 2 to 4 charges per 8 hour shift depending on intensity and frequency of use.

This component has been integrated into the electrical circuit so that rapid discharge demands [acceleration, up-hill gradients, etc.] and rapid recharge demands [regenerative braking, over-capacity energy conversion, etc.] can be met without damaging the deep discharge Li-ion batteries. The TSB will be integrated into the power delivery system to deliver high voltage output at startup from a dead stop.

ThermalElectric Generator [TEG] Modules

TEG's are ceramic wafers which convert ambient heat into ion flow. They are manufactured with conductive metal and semi-conductor materials [such as Bismuth and Telluride] which have widely varying dielectric constants. They convert heat to electrical energy according to the Seebeck Effect, as described in the literature. When coupled closely together and exposed to differing surface temperatures, TEG's are known to produce electrical current at consistently reliable rates. The purpose of these devices in this design is to convert ambient road temperatures to useful electrical power, both as a source of power which can be applied directly to the drive motors and, alternatively,  as a source of excess power which can be used to recharge the batteries and super-capacitors while the vehicle is at rest. The technology supporting the use of these devices is market matured. In fact, the basic design and manufacturing processes used to produce these devices has not changed much in the past 50 years. This is the technology, for example, used to provide continuous, reliable power to the Pluto satellite probe recently launched by NASA/JPL

These devices range in efficiency of energy conversion from something less than 5% to more than 15%, depending on their size, use, consistency and other specifications. In this design, we have included a TEG integration which has been shown to operate within the temperature ranges we anticipate during normal road use, at a nominal efficiency of about 5.4%. When arrayed in a series of parallel and series groupings, and when managed via a properly designed secondary power management circuit, this type of chip can be induced to operate at upwards of 10% efficiency.

(We believe this technology represents a genuine opportunity for a major breakthrough. New design criteria incorporating positively charged electrically conductive films, mono-molecular powders and appropriate nano-technologies currently being employed in chip manufacturing suggest we may be able to exponentially increase output levels in these devices by increasing surface area, reducing internal resistance and introducing virtual superconductivity to the Josephson junctions.)

As defined in the literature describing the Seebeck Effect, the secret to optimizing energy production by TEG's is found in the extent to which the temperature gradient between the surfaces can be maximized to an optimal level. Under normal conditions, while the lower surface may be heated to upwards of 1400 F or cooled below freezing by road surface radiation, it is unlikely that the surface temperature of the opposing side of the ceramic disk will reach levels which are significantly different than the exposed side to consistently provide usable power.  Accordingly, a way has to be found to optimize the chip's output levels by further differentiating, optimizing and controlling the difference in  surface temperatures between the TEG surfaces, without consuming battery power.

HZ-20 Electrical Properties (as a generator)*
Power**                    19 Watts        minimum     
Load Voltage               2.38 Volts      ±0.1       
Internal Resistance        0.3 Ohm         ±0.05      
Current                    8 Amps          ±1        
Open Circuit Voltage       5.0 Volts       ±0.3       
Efficiency                 4.5 %           minimum     

In this platform, the combined output of the TEG's is computed as a function of the total number of TEG ceramic disks which can be applied to the under-carriage structure in a manageable configuration. We estimate that number at about 240 disks. If each disk is capable of producing 8 am ps of 2.4 Volt d.c. equivalents [19 watts], this panel should be able to produce 4560 watts of continuous power under ideal conditions. Since we cannot reasonably expect an early stage prototype system to operate at optimal output levels, this will require us to provide an additional 2500+/- watts to sustain overall system efficiency, while still producing enough electrical power to adequately support the operation of the platform under normal conditions [40 bhp @ 60 amp-hours].

Peltier Cooling Chips

The Peltier class of Thermal-Electric Cooling Modules [TCM] has been shown to convert dc voltage to widely varying temperature differentials on the opposing sides of properly manufactured chip sets. These devices can be found in ubiquitous supply in widely varying ranges of size, efficiency and power consumption rates. For our purposes, we have integrated Peltier chips in a way which apparently has not been attempted before, at least not in a way which has been described in any of the literature that is publicly available.

Our design marries (9) TCM Peltier chips to the upper side of each 3” square TEG ceramic disk, so that when a properly modulated dc voltage is applied to each Peltier device, the mated surface is heated or cooled [depending on current operating conditions] at a rate which will maintain a temperature differential of 300 F between the TEG's surfaces. This function is operationalized and controlled by a live feedback loop which is monitored by the central power management and control system.

Fortunately, the process is reversible. When the road surface is hotter than the shaded surface, the voltage is run through the Peltier chips so that the mating surfaces are cooled. When the road surface is colder than the shaded surface, the current is simply reversed by the controller so that the upper surface is heated to a level which will maintain the same temperature differential. In this way, the TEG array is facilitated to produce as much energy on cold winter days as it does in the heat of summer.

Photovoltaic Films [Lumeloid]:

The source of power for the Peltier chips is provided by an array of photovoltaic cells attached to the exposed upper surfaces of the vehicular platform. New advances in state-of-the-art of photovoltaic films has resulted in the production of thin, flexible, transparent plastic films that can be applied directly to surfaces exposed to the light, and which convert sunlight to d.c. electrical current at a nominal efficiency of about 11%-15%. A typical off-the-shelf 12” X 18” solar panel constructed of such materials provides upwards of 1.8 amps/hr of electrical power from a surface of 1.5 square feet, under widely varying light conditions.

Using this output specification as a nominal value, this suggests that if we cover the exposed surfaces of an operating platform with such materials, we should be able to generate upwards of 90 amp-hours of current during the daytime, which is more than enough to power the Peltier chips attached to the TEG's during daytime operation. If the excess current is accumulated in super-capacitor circuits for use during the night or on inclement days, it is reasonable to expect that enough backup power can be made available to keep the TEG's operating at nominal efficiency all the time, even in the dead of winter.

Permanent Magnet Rotor Motors/ Generators

Advanced electric motor designs now make it possible to provide power to the platform at the rate of 3 am ps of power for each 2 units of brake horsepower. Accordingly, we can power the platform with 40 bhp equivalents with a constant nominal power drain of 60 amps per hour. When wheel diameters and torque requirements are properly matched, this means that so long as we can supply 60+ amps/hr of power to the motors, a 1,500 pound payload should operate at highway speeds without fully discharging the battery banks. If we can supply power at this rate, with reserves accumulated to meet acceleration and hill climbing demands, and recapture regenerative power during downhill coasting and braking, this package should be able to operate at highway speeds with virtually unlimited range.

The selection, design and actual output efficiency of the new varieties of high efficiency electric motors remains to be validated in this kind of application under rigorously tested conditions. This means that we will test a number of offerings in order to find the variety of devices which are best suited for our needs. Ultimately, we plan to design-engineer our own devices, but because of the nature of such undertakings and the uncertainty associated with the time and expense required to create such things, we will use devices manufactured, tested and warranted by others in our early phase iterations. This will enable us to work according to a carefully managed schedule, uninterrupted by the uncertainties intrinsic to basic research efforts.

Recent offerings by TM-4 [Bombardier], Honda, Toyota, Minato and Raser Technologies are shown to operate at upwards of 93%-96% efficiency, so we have used the low end of this scale to inform our calculations.

Regenerative Braking:

The state-of-the-art in regenerative braking technologies makes it possible to design a rolling package which consistently recaptures 40%-60% of its momentum in the form of regenerated electrical current. Instead of utilizing additional physical components, we have elected to incorporate a permanent magnetic rotor motor designed by e-Traction, Inc., to provide energy recapture through the drive motor system in the first rolling prototype. This system works by simply reversing the bucking fields within the motor which drive the wheels, so that continued motion creates rather than dissipates electrical energy. This feature is used to recapture and convert kinetic energy back into electric current while the vehicle is coasting down hills and being brought to a controlled stop by the operator. Conventional disk brake calipers and rotors will also be used to insure the vehicle's ability to stop quickly on demand.

PiezoElectric Materials/Devices

Since January 1990, the USPTO has issued nearly 1,000 patents for devices utilizing piezoelectric materials to produce electrical current for some nominal use. In the SREV design, we will incorporate a number of piezoelectric-based devices to generate usable electrical power, including:

  • Acoustic Conversion:  A matched acoustic transducer, linear actuator and piezoelectric array will convert road noise in each wheel well at the rate of 1,200 to 1,500 watts continuous, at 72 volts alternating current. This is a proprietary devices for which patent protection will be sought.
  • Angular Momentum:  An array of piezoelectric panels attached to the inner rotating surface of the wheel-motor/ drive shaft at each corner of the SREV will recapture angular momentum and convert it to usable energy while the vehicle is coasting and braking. This is a proprietary devices for which patent protection will be sought.
  • Vibration Conversion:  A matched vibration transducer, linear actuator and piezoelectric array will capture and convert chassis vibration to usable electrical power. This is a proprietary devices for which patent protection will be sought.
  • Suspension Flexion:  A matched array of piezoelectric panels laminated to form torsion/suspension elements will actively convert flexion occurring in the suspension system to usable electrical power. This is a proprietary devices for which patent protection will be sought.
  • Laminar Air Flow:  A computer-designed array of piezoelectric flaps will be exposed to laminar air flow occurring at the front and beneath the chassis of the SREV. While the vehicle is in motion, these arrays will convert the pressure exerted by continuous laminar air flow to usable electrical power. This is a proprietary devices for which patent protection will be sought.
  • Regenerative Braking:  An array of piezoelectric panels will be harnessed to the braking mechanism to recapture kinetic energy for conversion to usable electrical power. This is a proprietary devices for which patent protection will be sought.

The introduction of piezoelectric materials into the design of the SREV makes it possible to capture and convert ambient energy sources that are altogether ignored by conventional designs. By our best estimate, we believe we can produce net usable power at the rate of 7,500 to 9,000 watts continuous while the package is rolling at speeds between 20 and 70 mph.

Vehicular Package:

We are not in the business of design-engineering rolling platforms. The prime directive in this exercise is to minimize mass and drag coefficients while maximizing energy production and consumption efficiency. This obviates the utility of conventional automobile platforms as reasonable candidates for this application because all commercially available automobiles are design-engineered to mitigate the tolerances required to support the use of high mass, high horsepower internal combustion engines, their respective power-train components and chassis assemblies. This is the proximate reason why today's brand of alternative hybrid fuel automobiles are only able to run 30 miles at 25 miles per hour on battery power. Our design suffers appreciably when required to move so much unnecessary mass. This is the primary reason conversion of off-the-shelf automobiles to electric power has thus far proven so unsatisfactory.

Accordingly, we have opted to integrate the SREV technology package with a properly engineered kit car adaptation provided by a number of reliable manufacturers. The operative criteria call for simplicity, minimal mass, nominal safety compliance, optimal surface areas, low wind resistance, low drag coefficients, sufficient ground clearance and adaptability to electric motor installation/ operation.

Low Resistance Tires and Wheels:

Resistance coefficients which demand our attention include drag [air resistance], inertial resistance [startup and acceleration], resistance from the tires at the point of contact, and a number of other, less important sources. Two criteria require that we utilize large diameter wheels of 18" or greater. First, the efficiency of the motors we have selected is highest when the combined diameter of tires and wheels approaches 22"-24". Second, the Peltier/TEG array is expected to be approximately 3.5" thick. When the shock-absorbent mounting grommets are included, the bottom of the array will use up nearly 4" of ground clearance. Even though VW chassis applications generally provide 6"-8" of clearance above the road surface, we will need to insure sufficient clearance for the Peltier/TEG array as well. The design calls for the use of adjustable gas shocks with load bearing coils to provide a degree of control over road clearance.

The TCM/TEG panel suspended from the bottom of the vehicular platform is vulnerable to two kinds of effects which our design is intended to mitigate. First, because it is suspended from the bottom of the vehicle, the lower surfaces of the TEG's will be exposed to impacts by flying debris and abrasion by dust, moisture, caking and reduced efficiency during inclement weather. During early stage trials, we will test the platform under controlled conditions in order to minimize these risks. As a practical matter, we will attempt later in the development cycle to design-engineer the panels themselves and the mounting/deflection hardware in a way that minimizes damage and optimizes cleaning, repair and heat exchange efficiencies.

Second, because the distance from the road surface, particularly while the platform is in motion, is a critical factor in the efficiency with which the TEG/TCM array will be able to absorb and convert ambient road heat to usable electrical current, we expect to use the adjustable gas-powered shock absorber assemblies to lower the chassis toward the road surface while the vehicle is in motion. As speeds slow or road obstacles are encountered, this feature will make it possible to raise the platform to avoid or minimize impact damage which could result from collision with speed bumps or other obstacles commonly encountered on the roadways.

In order to maintain system stability, road-worthiness and optimal control of the rolling package, we are required to maintain a sufficiently broad footprint on the road surface to insure adequate traction, tracking, steering and braking under all operating conditions. The tires and wheels normally used with internal combustion engine-powered platforms are not noted for their resistance efficiency. However, the newest iteration of low-profile, low resistance tires includes a variety of urethane-based bias ply tires which are more commonly seen in applications involving rear drive tires used by high-displacement motorcycles ['fat boy tires']. These tires are light weight, extremely strong, exhibit very low rolling resistance and are rated at speeds and acceleration rates substantially higher than we expect to achieve with our package. Accordingly, our design incorporates the use of light weight ceramic/aluminum wheels and urethane-based 'fat boy' tires of 18" diameters and larger.

Yurth anticipates that a next generation technology (Phase II) will entail a solid-state version that eliminates the moving parts and further compacts and streamlines the energy generation for the vehicle.

Innovative Technology IP Development Pipeline

In 2001, Nova Institute invested $185,000 hiring three MBA accounting firms who spent a year to come up with an IP development pipeline, which is a gateway process for taking disruptive technologies from concept stage to market.  Nova presents this process to the inventors whose technologies they consider, so that there is a clear understanding up front of what will be entailed in the process from beginning to end, rather than having surprises come up part way through the process which can often derail a process.

Yurth has granted PES Network Inc permission to reproduce this document. (See)

# # #

See also


Page composed by Sterling D. Allan Dec. 30, 2006
Last updated January 12, 2007





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