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Energies 2018, 11(2), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11020305

The PurdueTracer: An Energy-Efficient Human-Powered Hydraulic Bicycle with Flexible Operation and Software Aids

1
Department of Industrial Engineering, University Federico II, 80100 Naples, Italy
2
School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47906, USA
3
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47906, USA
4
Maha Fluid Power Research Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47906, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 January 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract

Hydrostatic transmissions (HT) are widely applied to heavy-duty mobile applications because of the advantages of layout flexibility, power to weight ratio, and ease of control. Though applications of fluid power in light-duty vehicles face challenges, including the unavailability of off-the-shelf components suitable to the power scale, there are potential advantages for HTs in human-powered vehicles, such as bicycles, the most important one being the energy-saving advantage achievable through regenerative braking in a hybrid HT. This paper describes an innovative design for a hydraulic hybrid bicycle, i.e., the PurdueTracer. The PurdueTracer is an energy-efficient human-powered hydraulic bicycle with flexible operation and software aids. An open-circuit hydraulic hybrid transmission allows PurdueTracer to operate in four modes: Pedaling, Charging, Boost, and Regeneration, to satisfy users’ need for different riding occasions. An aluminum chassis that also functions as a system reservoir was customized for the PurdueTracer to optimize the durability, riding comfort, and space for components. The selection of the hydraulic components was performed by creating a model of the bicycle in AMESim simulation software and conducting a numerical optimization based on the model. The electronic system equipped users with informative feedback showing the bicycle performance, intuitive execution of functions, and comprehensive guidance for operation. This paper describes the design approach and the main results of the PurdueTracer, which also won the 2017 National Fluid Power Association Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge. This championship serves to prove the excellence of this vehicle in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, durability, and novelty. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrostatic transmission; hydraulic hybrid; light-duty system; energy recovery; software interface; computer-aided monitoring; Internet of Things hydrostatic transmission; hydraulic hybrid; light-duty system; energy recovery; software interface; computer-aided monitoring; Internet of Things
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Marinaro, G.; Xu, Z.; Chen, Z.; Li, C.; Mao, Y.; Vacca, A. The PurdueTracer: An Energy-Efficient Human-Powered Hydraulic Bicycle with Flexible Operation and Software Aids. Energies 2018, 11, 305.

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