Senators Explore Hydraulic Hybrids
Electric hybrid vehicles like the Toyata Prius have become common on our roads. A team of researchers in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Minnesota invited Minnesota state senators to their lab on Monday to explain their vision of hydraulic hybrid vehicles like buses or garbage trucks. Senator David Tomassoni, chair of the Senate Economic Development Budget Division, along with senators and staff from his committee toured the Center for Dynamic Fluid Power and saw a small utility vehicle equipped with a hydraulic power storage system. Several mechanical engineering students who worked in the lab led the tours and talked about their work. Lab director Kim Stelson explained why a hydraulic hybrid system would be ideal for buses that have to stop and start frequently. As Kim described it, hydraulic power has several technology advantages over electric storage systems.
It was great to see legislators talking with students and faculty members about how, through research and development, Minnesota could be a leader in developing an energy efficient new technology for transportation.
Sophia Ginis, the Outreach Manager for the Center for Science, Technology and Public Policy, worked with the Fluid Power Center and the Senate staff to arrange the tour and discussion. Several Minnesota businesses also participated.