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  • The Garbage Truck of the Future

    The serial production of a new, electric garbage truck based on an invention created at the University of Debrecen is ready to start.
    This unique electric garbage truck operates with an electric motor, and it is capable of covering 150 km with a single charging of its batteries, which corresponds to the daily waste collection route of a garbage truck. The new drive technology is based on the intellectual property developed by researchers of the Department of Electric Engineering and Mechatronics at the Faculty of Engineering, the patenting process for which was started in April 2012 with the support of the university’s Technology Transfer Centre.
    The Garbage Truck of the Future 
    “Earlier in the course of their research activities, members of the Department of Electric Engineering and Mechatronics at the Faculty of Engineering developed an employee patent using a novel approach to vehicles with electric drive-trains (with the title ‘Circuit Arrangement and a Method for Controlling an AC Drive System of an Electric Vehicle’). The department then created a consortium for the further development of the new technology, and together with its partners, Tappe Hulladékgazdálkodási Kft and Energotest Diagnosztikai és Automatizálási Kft., they were awarded a grant in the framework of the ‘New Széchenyi Plan Economic Development Operational Programme’ for the implementation of the project ‘The Development of an Electric Truck Suitable for the Collection of Communal Waste’ (GOP-1.1.1-11-2012-0617). As a result of the above, by September 2014, the prototype of the innovative communal waste collecting truck, fitted with solar panels and electric drive, was finished, which offers an economical option for replacing the current solution of waste collection involving rather high specific costs. We also developed a performance-measuring test-bed, with the help of which the average dynamic cycles belonging to the individual collection phases can be simulated, and with the help of a suitable software tool, these loads can be simulated on the axis driven by the electric motor for testing purposes. The prototype truck is currently actively used in Békéscsaba”, said vice dean Géza Husi, talking about the antecedents.
    It is an important innovation-related objective of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Debrecen to ensure that new technological developments would be utilised with as many industrial partners as possible, and thereby reach the wide layers of society. Electromega Kft. contacted the University of Debrecen with a comprehensive plan of utilisation, and in its capacity as professional investor, agreed to conduct the new developments and find ways of utilisation for the resulting products. In addition to the company undertaking the development of additional vehicle types, they also provide places for the practical training of students of the Faculty of Engineering.
    “The new garbage truck has a completely different undercarriage than the old one, which means that we had to start the development from scratch. The special feature of the new motor is that it can function as a 55kW and as a 300 kW engine, and its weight is only 270-280 kg, while a typical 300 kW electric engine can weigh as much as two tonnes. This unique, lightweight motor can deliver high torque.  The batteries are capable of operating the vehicle for ten years; the manufacturer guarantees 2500 charging cycles. The underlying vehicle was developed in Debrecen, while the waste collecting structure comes from the workshop of Seres Kft. in Pécs,” said István Bartha, research engineer and inventor, when introducing the truck.
    After the successful trial operations, the serial production of the new waste collecting trucks can also be started. The electric garbage truck is twice as expensive as one with a traditional diesel engine, but the return on investments brings it to even in just six years.
    “Electromega Kutatófejlesztő Kft. purchased the right of use from the University of Debrecen in the framework of a license agreement. Under this agreement, reached after a long series of negotiations, the Debrecen-based company received a license for the utilisation of the invention described in the patent of 2012. In the course of those negotiations, we had to take into consideration the interest of all parties, and the licence structure was adjusted to these interests,” said Tamás Bene, head of the Technology Transfer Centre.
    The alternative drive can also be retrofitted to older garbage trucks, and so this technology can also offer a solution to waste management companies for the renovation of their existing vehicles.
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