As part of the highly successful IDTechEx event Energy Harvesting USA this week in Boston, there has been a visit to the MIT spinoff Levant Power which has made remarkable progress in only two years.
Using a Hummer loaned by the US Army and other vehicles, Levant Power has progressed from making oversized dampers that generate electricity to creating an electrodynamic harvester that can be inserted in regular dampers to generate electricity at 45-50% efficiency using small permanent magnets. The plan is therefore for Levant Power to be a Tier 2 supplier to the automotive industry selling to Tier 1 damper (shock absorber) manufacturers.
Nowadays, the dynamic response creating active suspension, improving the ride, is as important as generating electricity. Indeed, the company believes that it may even be able to eliminate existing anti-roll bars. In the market, the initial sweet spot is not cars but off-road military vehicles like the conventional ICE Hummer and similar or larger sized pure electric and hybrid electric and even microhybrid on-road vehicles. Off road vehicles create more vertical shocks to provide more electricity and the larger vehicles can generate disproportionately more electricity anyway - up to 1kW per damper.
The company sees courier vehicles as particularly attractive because the bump down unmade roads and frequently stop and start so both electric and non-electric versions can benefit. The Levant devices can lead to better protection of courier cargo by improving the ride.
Second priority is 3000 appropriate signalling buoys at sea that typically use solar and wave power at present and the Levant devices are more efficient with the wave power part.
Batelle and Levant Power are collaborating to bring OceanGen to market. Batelle is a world-leader in ocean engineering, sensors, materials and coatings. Levant Power is a leader in hydraulic energy harvesting.
Here the power generated can even be 50kW where required.
Levant Power is moving from having made a few hundred of its devices in the two years of its existence to a planned tens then hundreds of thousands of devices. This is a truly remarkable and fast-moving enterprise.
For more read: Energy Harvesting for Electric Vehicles
and attend: Electric Vehicles Land Sea Air