Patent application title: Fluidic Kinetic Energy Recovery Device
Fernando Erriu (San Basilio (ca), IT)
IPC8 Class: AF04B900FI
Class name: Pumps operated by art device
Publication date: 2008-10-16
Patent application number: 20080253902
Patent application title: Fluidic Kinetic Energy Recovery Device
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC
Origin: ARLINGTON, VA US
IPC8 Class: AF04B900FI
A fluidic kinetic energy recovery device, over which a moving body
travels, and which has a pumping assembly, in turn having a cavity and a
membrane defining a variable-volume chamber with the cavity. The fluidic
device has a first plate defining the cavity; a second plate connected to
the first plate and defining a seat located on the opposite side of the
membrane to the cavity; and an actuating member housed in the seat to
cooperate with the membrane, and movable between a rest position, in
which the volume of the chamber is maximum, and a work position, in which
the volume of the chamber is minimum.
1) A fluidic kinetic energy recovery device, over which a moving body
travels, and which comprises a pumping assembly, in turn comprising a
cavity and a membrane defining a variable-volume chamber with said
cavity; wherein said device further comprises a first plate defining said
cavity; a second plate connected to said first plate and defining a seat
located on the opposite side of said membrane to said cavity; and an
actuating member housed in said seat to cooperate with said membrane, and
movable between a rest position, in which the volume of said chamber is
maximum, and a work position, in which the volume of said chamber is
2) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said actuating member is maintained in said rest position by said membrane.
3) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 2, and further comprising a limit stop arrangement for preventing withdrawal of said actuating member from said seat.
4) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 1, and further comprising a non-return valve arrangement connected fluidically to said cavity; and an intake circuit and a delivery circuit connected fluidically to said cavity by said non-return valve arrangement.
5) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 4, and further comprising a third plate connected to said first plate, on the opposite side to said second plate, and supporting at least one valve of said non-return valve arrangement and at least one of said intake circuit and said delivery circuit.
6) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 5, and further comprising a fourth plate connected to said third plate and integrally defining said intake circuit and said delivery circuit.
7) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 1, and further comprising a further membrane covering said second plate.
8) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said further membrane comprises a connecting portion connected rigidly to said actuating member.
9) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 8, wherein said connecting portion comprises a reinforcing insert.
10) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 7, wherein said second plate defines a support for said further membrane when said actuating member is in said work position.
11) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said cavity and said actuating member are elongated in shape.
12) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least one of said actuating member and said first and second plate is made of metal or composite or polymer or polyurethane material, and at least said membrane is made of elastomeric or polyurethane or shape-memory material.
13) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 7, wherein said further membrane is made of sheet metal or music wire steel or stainless steel.
14) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said cavity is formed integrally in said first plate.
15) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said cavity and said actuating member define respective complementary contours.
16) A kinetic energy recovery device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said membrane comprises a peripheral edge compressed by said second plate on said first plate to define a fluidtight seal.
The present invention relates to a fluidic recovery device for recovering kinetic energy, e.g. of a moving motor vehicle or train.
By means of the recovery device, the kinetic energy of a motor vehicle is converted to potential energy of a fluid, which can thus be used to power a hydraulic turbine connected to an alternator to produce clean, alternative electric energy of zero environmental impact.
As is known, clean, alternative electric energy is currently produced using wind turbine devices for converting the kinetic energy of wind to electric energy, or photovoltaic systems for converting solar energy to electric energy using the physical properties of certain materials.
Alternatively, sea wave motion or currents may be exploited using fluidic machines.
All the above methods of producing clean, alternative electric energy involve complex, highly expensive components, and normally extensive facilities of considerable environmental impact.
Moreover, wind and photovoltaic energy systems can only be used over a relatively small part of the day, and in given geographical areas.
DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION
It is an object of the present invention to provide a fluidic kinetic energy recovery device designed to eliminate the aforementioned drawbacks.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
A number of preferred, non-limiting embodiments of the present invention will be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 shows a view in perspective, with parts removed for clarity, of a kinetic energy recovery device in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 shows a partial section along line II-II in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 shows a view in perspective of a further embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 4 shows a partial section along line IV-IV in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 shows a partial section along line V-V in FIG. 4.
BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
Number 30 in FIG. 1 indicates as a whole a modular fluidic kinetic energy recovery device comprising a number of superimposed plates 1, 2, 3, 4 of different thicknesses, and which are made of any metal or composite material capable of withstanding the loads and/or wear to which device 30 is subjected.
FIG. 2 shows one of the pumping assemblies enclosed in plates 1, 2, 3, 4. More specifically, the pumping assembly comprises a pestle-shaped actuating member 5 movable back and forth to pump a fluid to a hydraulic turbine; a membrane 10 operated by actuating member 5; and a cavity 11 beneath membrane 10 and defining, with membrane 10, a variable-volume chamber.
Actuating member 5 comprises a hemispherical cap 53; and a projection 59 extending from the base of hemispherical cap 53 and positioned contacting membrane 10.
Device 30 also comprises one-way valves 13 connected fluidically to cavity 11; O-rings 12 interposed between the plates to define respective fluid tight seals; bolts 6 to pack plates 1, 2, 3, 4 tightly together; and a cover membrane 8 on top of actuating member 5.
More specifically, plate 2 integrally defines cavity 11; and plate 1 integrally defines, within its thickness, a corresponding through seat 9 for guiding in a slidable way the actuating member 5. Membrane 10 is interposed between cavity 11 and through seat 9, and has a peripheral edge 60 compressed between plates 1 and 2, when bolts 6 are tightened, to define a fixed fluidtight connection.
Through seat 9 has an opening 51 adjacent to membrane 10, and an opening 52 opposite opening 51 in a direction perpendicular to membrane 10. Actuating member 5 is inserted inside through seat 9 through opening 51, and cap 53 projects partly from plate 1 and is connected to cover membrane 8. Opening 52 and cavity 11 are smaller in diameter than cap 53, so that the sliding movement of actuating member 5 is limited by plate 1 on one side and by the bottom of through seat 9 on the other.
Cover membrane 8 is bolted to cap 53, and may be made of metal, possibly coated with polymer material to ensure suitable friction with the tyres, or of any material suitable for the purpose. Actuating member 5 may be made of metal, polyurethane, polymer material, or any suitably rigid material.
Cavity 11 and seat 9 may be cast, pressed, or machined.
Each cavity 11 corresponds with two one-way valves 13 housed in plate 3 and isolated by O-rings 12, which define a seal towards cavity 11 and towards a header defined in plate 4 connected to plate 3 on the opposite side to plate 2. More specifically, plate 4 defines milled or stamped channels 14 connected fluidically to one-way valves 13 to define an intake circuit 7a and a delivery circuit 7b.
More specifically, the pump assemblies mounted in plates 1, 2, 3, 4 are connected parallel by channels 14 in plate 4.
The recovery device 40 in FIGS. 3 and 4 is similar to device 30, and comprises superimposed plates 16, 17, 18, 19; elongated, bar-shaped, circular-section actuating members 15; and membranes 27 connected between plates 17 and 16, like membranes 10, and slightly longer than actuating member 15.
Top plate 16 defines seats 54 similar to seat 9 but elongated in shape to house respective actuating members 15. Seats 54 are appropriately milled, and each define openings 55, 56, similar to respective openings 51, 52, by which to insert actuating member 15 inside through seat 54, and to define a limit stop preventing upward withdrawal of actuating member 15.
Plate 17 defines cavities 26 functionally similar to cavity 11 and elongated in shape to cooperate with respective actuating members 15; and, in the FIG. 4 section plane, each cavity 26 and relative actuating member 15 have respective complementary arc-shaped contours.
At both ends 28 and 29 (FIG. 3), each cavity 26 has respective holes 57 and 58, which communicate with respective non-return valves 25, one an intake valve and the other a delivery valve.
Cover membrane 8 comprises reinforcing plates 22 on top of the back of actuating members 15.
Valves 25 are housed in seats formed in plate 18; and plate 19 defines a header connecting cavities 26 in parallel beneath valves 25. More specifically, plate 19 defines a first channel 20a connecting all the intake valves 25, and a second channel 20b (FIG. 5) connecting all the delivery valves 25.
Membranes 10, 27 may be made of any strong elastic material suitable for the purpose, such as polyurethane elastomers of 40 to 90 Shore A hardness or other hardness. Alternatively, a good performance, efficiency, and strength are achieved using membranes 10, 27 formed by stamping shape-memory alloy sheet with nickel titanium or so-called superelastic alloys, or using ordinary spring steel sheet. Bar-shaped actuating members 15 are made of polymer materials of over 70 Shore D hardness.
Devices 30, 40 described above constitute individual modules, which may be laid in two lines along more or less extensive portions of highway, and may be connected to other identical modules to form an extensive system. For which purpose, each module has fast-fit connections for connecting the headers defined by each plate 4, 19.
More specifically, the intake and delivery circuits are connected in series, and the delivery circuits are equipped with instruments for controlling pressure and flow to the hydraulic turbine employing the pressurized fluid to generate electric energy.
The fluid used is water with additives to prevent oxidation, or a water and oil emulsion. The size of each module is for example 60×60 cm, and the modules may be laid in two lines along a highway, with a centre distance of 180 cm, or across the whole or part of the highway.
In use, device 30 can be bolted to a support or frame (not shown) embedded in the road surface, flush with the blacktop on which passing vehicles travel, and can be dismantled and replaced easily. Cover membrane 8 is aligned with the road surface, and is activated by a vehicle travelling over device 30.
More specifically, cover membrane 8 assumes the curvature produced by the tyre rolling over it, and pushes actuating member 5 down until it, the cover membrane, comes to rest on plate 1. Membrane 10 is thus deformed, the volume of the chamber is reduced, and the fluid inside the chamber is compressed and fed to delivery circuit 7b via non-return valve 13.
Once the tyre has passed over actuating member 5, membrane 10 returns to a substantially flat configuration, draws another load of fluid into cavity 11, and keeps actuating member 5 in a rest position pending passage of the next vehicle.
Given the sizing of actuating members 5, and particularly the small surface area of cavity 11, extremely high pressures can be achieved, by virtue of the weight of the vehicle moving the actuating member being distributed over a small area, and are withstood easily by virtue of the rigidity of plate 2 defining cavities 11.
Device 40 operates in the same way as device 30. Moreover, cavities 26 are oriented in the vehicle travelling direction, and, with reference to the same direction indicated by arrow F in FIG. 3, delivery valves 25 are located at end 28, so that cavities 26 are exhausted gradually by a passing vehicle.
Devices 30, 40 may be employed as described above, or may have no cover membrane 8 and be embedded in the ballast of a railway line, for example underneath and contacting the sleepers, so as to convert to energy the oscillation produced by a passing train. Devices 30, 40 may even be used in pedestrian pavements.
The advantages of recovery devices 30, 40 are as follows.
By means of a plate structure, it is possible to obtain a strong, compact structure capable of generating pressure and withstanding even very high loads with no need for piping or fittings. In particular, the thickness involved is very small.
A plate structure also provides for easily accommodating all the component parts, and for extremely low-cost sealing using O-rings 12; and cover membrane 8 prevents dirt entering through seats 9 and so jamming actuating members 5, 15.
Having elongated cavities 26, device 40 is simpler and comprises fewer component parts, while at the same time increasing fluid flow, thus ensuring better pumping action in all operating conditions, even in the event of passing vehicles braking or travelling at high speed.
Clearly, changes may be made to the kinetic energy recovery device as described and illustrated herein without, however, departing from the scope of the present invention as defined in the accompanying Claims.
Cavities 11, 26 and membranes 10, 27 may be formed in various ways, and membranes 10 and 27 may even be glued to or simply compressed between plates 1, 2 and 16, 17 respectively.
Patent applications in all subclasses OPERATED BY ART DEVICE