The Free-piston linear generator (FPLG) is a novel energy converter which can generate electrical energy and is regarded as a potential technology for solving the restriction of the short driving range of electric vehicles. Getting rid of the crank and flywheel mechanism, FPLG obtains some advantages of a variable compression ratio, compact size, and highly-efficient power generation. Linear electric machine (LEM) design and piston motion control are two key technologies of FPLG. However, they are currently the main obstacles to the favorable performance of FPLG. LEM being used to drive the piston motion or generate electric energy is an integrated design including a motor/generator. Various types of LEMs are investigated, and suitable application scenarios based on advantages and disadvantages are discussed. The FPLG’s controller is used to ensure stable operation and highly-efficient output. However, cycle-to-cycle variations of the combustion process and motor/generator switching make it difficult to improve the performance of the piston motion control. Comments on the advantages and disadvantages of different piston motion control methods are also given in this paper.
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