RWTH Aachen brings efficiency to renewable energies
The Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Controls is Germany’s RWTH Aachen University’s contribution to the world of fluid power research. The program tackles projects for both government agencies and commercial industries and covers five main areas of study, including: Tribology and fluid analysis, pump and motor technology, valve technology and mechatronics, system and control technology and pneumatics.
One of the program’s latest fields of study has been in the realm of renewable energies. Within the field of pump and motor technology, the institute has done research on implementing a hydrostatic transmission into a wind turbine in order to enhance its efficiency.
“After we implemented a fully hydrostatic transmission in the laboratory, we could show that 85% efficiency can be achieved,” Olivier Reinertz, chief engineer for the IFAS, said.
Their work has shown that using a hydrostatic transmission has the added benefit of reduced load stiffness. This stiffness extends the life span of the system by reducing the wear and tear on components caused by involuntary movements during sudden and unsteady loads.
Beyond helping make wind power more efficient; the program has conducted research into energy created through the motion of ocean waves. While harnessing the linear motion of the waves to actuate a hydraulic cylinder is quite simple, power management and system durability is another matter entirely. Since the power of average waves is low, the system has to be efficient, but in stormy seas, when waves generate greater power, the system also has to be able to prevent overloads.
Their work in pneumatics has included a servo-pneumatic hand with eleven degrees of freedom that was funded by the German Research Foundation. The hand was designed to be a part of a larger robot designed by the Korean Institute of Science and Technology, however the hand was never attached to the robot.
Instead, because of the hands miniaturized drives and valves, and the resulting control difficulties caused by high friction and the stick-slip phenomenon, the hand is used for theoretical and experimental investigations in control strategies and actuators in servo-pneumatic systems.
RWTH Aachen University
RWTH Aachen’s IFAS will also be offering talks from leading fluid power researchers, laboratory tours, a lovely cultural program for spouses, and a fantastic banquet evening, complete with entertainment from the fluid power graduate students, during the 9th International Fluid Power Conference, slated for March 24-28, 2014.
For more information: Looking Forward to IFK 2014