Fluid Power Research Aligned with NFPA Technology Roadmap

Programs like the NFPA Research Supplement Program are made possible in part by the generous support of industry volunteers as well as NFPA Education and Technology Foundation and Pascal Society donors. 

Eric Lanke headshot 2017By Eric Lanke
NFPA President/CEO

I recently had the pleasure of attending the October 2019 Summit of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CEEFP) on the campus of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Twice a year, the CCEFP puts on one of these summits to present its ongoing fluid power research projects and to facilitate interactions between its academic faculty, graduate students, and industry supporters.

The NFPA Foundation has provided research supplement grants to many of the researchers so they can attend and present at these summits, and this one was no exception. All eleven of this year’s supplement recipients presented at the summit. It gave me an ideal opportunity to align their projects with the research objectives identified on our recently updated Technology Roadmap for the Fluid Power Industry. Doing so helped me better understand which parts of the broad pre-competitive research agenda that our Roadmap describes are being addressed by our growing research coalition. During the summit, I saw projects presented that were clearly targeted at the following Roadmap objectives:

Improving fluid power’s reliability and durability

Objective: Improve surface finish properties for advanced reliability and durability of fluid power components


  • “Novel Coatings for Advanced Fluid Power Systems,” Osman Levent Eryilmaz, Argonne National Lab


Increasing fluid power’s energy efficiency

Objective: Increase energy conversion efficiency in fluid power systems


  • “Seamless Electric to Hydraulic Conversion,” Eric Severson, U of Wisconsin-Madison, and Jim Van de Ven, U of Minnesota
  • “Modeling and Optimization of Trajectory-Based HCCI Combustion,” Zongxuan Sun, U of Minnesota


Objective: Develop more energy-efficient fluid power system architectures


  • “Individual Electro-Hydraulic Actuators for Off-road Machines,” Andrea Vacca, Purdue
  • “Hybrid Hydraulic-Electric Architecture for Mobile Machines,” Perry Li, U of Minnesota


Objective: Reduce energy consumption of current system architectures


  • “Polymer-Enhanced Fluid Effects on Mechanical Efficiency of Hydraulic Pumps,” Paul Michael, MSOE and Ashlie Martini, UCA-Merced
  • “Additives (VIIs) and Base Fluid Design for Enhanced Mechanical Efficiency of Hydraulic Fluids,” Lelia Cosimbescu, Pacific Northwest Lab


Objective: Improve energy recovery methods in fluid power systems


  • “Increasing the Efficiency of Wind Turbines through Understanding of their Transient Responses,” Kim Stelson, U of Minnesota


Objective: Develop new or improved fluid power components


  • “Efficient, Compact, and Smooth Variable Propulsion Motor,” Jim Van de Ven, U of Minnesota
  • “High Efficiency Hydraulic Pump/Motors Employing Partial Stroke Piston Pressurization (PSPP),” Tom Chase, U of Minnesota


Objective: Improve energy storage capabilities of fluid power components and systems


  • “Distributed Compact Hydraulic Regenerative Braking for Heavy Duty Transport Vehicles,” Jose Garcia, Purdue


Increasing fluid power’s power density

Objective: Integrate component functions/refine system architectures


  • “Hydraulic Ankle Foot Orthosis for the Prescription of Orthoses for Children with Cerebral Palsy,” Will Durfee, U of Minnesota
  • “High Performance Piezoelectric Pneumatic Proportional Valve,” Tom Chase, U of Minnesota


Reducing the environmental impact of fluid power components and systems

Objective: Eliminate external leakage in fluid power components and systems


  • “Dynamics of Rolling Friction in Soft-Rigid Interface,” Michael Varenberg, Georgia Tech


Objective: Lower environmental impact of fluid power components and systems


  • “Overview of ORNL’s Combustion Portfolio Relevant to Fluid Power,” Jim Szybist, Oak Ridge National Lab


Any NFPA member interested in learning more about any of these projects should contact me at elanke@nfpa.com or (414) 778-3351. I’d be happy to share the PowerPoint presentation from the projects that piqued your interest and/or help connect you with the researchers working on the appropriate advancement.

It was great to see so much alignment with the pre-competitive research objectives identified by our industry.

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