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Regenerative braking and alternative energy recovery methods

Syllabus - Environment [GS Paper-3]

Context

Applications of Regenerative braking and alternative energy recovery methods have been highlighted.

Regenerative Braking

  • Regenerative braking is a system in electric vehicles that converts kinetic energy from braking into electric energy, that is saved in batteries or used straight away.
    • It includes the electrical motor functioning as a generator to seize kinetic energy back into the vehicle’s energy system.
  • Mechanism : The electric motor in the automobile reverses its role for the duration of braking, turning mechanical energy from the wheels into electrical energy.
    • This power is either stored for later use or fed back into the vehicle’s traction system.
  • Comparison : Regenerative braking is a part of dynamic braking, contrasting with rheostatic braking in which more power is dissipated as heat.

Limitations

  • It is a simple energy recovery mechanism which has some downsides. 
  • It on its own can’t completely halt a vehicle and is supplemented through traditional braking systems that dissipates some of the kinetic energy as heat.
  • Efficiency drops at decreasing speeds, and it does not prevent vehicles from rolling returns on inclines.

Solutions 

  • The design of a regenerative brake depends on the energy shape to which the mechanical energy from the wheels is to be transformed.
  • An electric powered automobile funnels it right into a generator and obtains a modern-day, which is saved in a battery or a supercapacitor.
  • Similarly, the mechanical energy can be used to increase the angular momentum of a rotating flywheel. 
  • Flywheels are mainly useful because they can acquire energy much faster than other such systems.
  • For every unit growth in pace, in addition they save exponentially more energy. 
  • The flywheel can be related to a reciprocating engine to manipulate or augment its output, like in Formula One racing, or to a gyroscope to assist submarines and satellites navigate.
  • Recovered kinetic energy also can be fed to a pump that compresses air, which may be beneficial to start internal combustion engines.

Source: The Indian Express

UPSC Mains Practice Question

Q. ‘Electric vehicles are the future of transportation.’ Discuss the challenges associated and ways to increase the electric vehicles penetration in the Indian market.

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