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F1 fuel efficiency technology nominated for awar

Flybrid, Torotrak and Xtrac have been shortlisted for a Professional MotorSport World Expo Award for their work on their mechanical ‘kinetic energy recovery system’ (KERS) with a major Formula 1 team.

Competing in the category of Engine Innovation of the Year, the KERS development is among four finalists drawn up from nominations submitted to the Professional MotorSport World Expo website. The nominations will be finally assessed by an independent, international jury of motorsport team managers, engineers and journalists.

Light, compact and efficient, the mechanical KERS system developed for F1 is designed to meet the requirement outlined by FIA president Max Moseley – of developing technology directly relevant to improving fuel efficiency in road cars – by recovering energy from the vehicle under braking and re-using that energy to accelerate and drive the vehicle.

The mechanical KERS system comprises a toroidal traction drive CVT (continuously variable transmission) and a mechanical flywheel.

The lightweight flywheel, developed by Flybrid Systems, is used to store the moving vehicle’s kinetic energy which is otherwise wasted when the vehicle is decelerated.

This energy is recuperated from the driveline, through Torotrak’s CVT, as the vehicle decelerates. This energy is subsequently released back into the driveline – again through the CVT – as the vehicle accelerates.

Torotrak’s CVT has been engineered for the F1 application by Xtrac, who will also manufacturer the device. In June 2007, both companies entered into a licence agreement to enable Xtrac to develop and sell the highly efficient and compact CVT for motorsport applications.

The FIA has defined the amount of energy recovery for the 2009 season as 400kJ per lap giving the driver an extra 80hp over a period of 6.67 seconds, which is ideal for overtaking manoeuvres.

“Building on the confidence shown within F1, the nomination received for this prestigious award demonstrates the level of excitement and rapid progress being made with the mechanical KERS system,” said Dick Elsy, CEO of Torotrak.

“We’re delighted to have been nominated for this award,” said Adrian Moore technical director of Xtrac. “We’re also excited with the prospect of motorsport helping to introduce this technology into road cars.”

Jon Hilton, managing partner Flybrid, commented further by saying: “Flybrid Systems is delighted to be nominated for this prestigious award. This is a further demonstration that the very strong interest in green technologies already apparent in consumer markets is now being felt in the motorsport world.”

Finalists will be announced and trophies presented during a gala dinner at PMW Expo in Cologne, Germany, on 6th November 2007