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Energy Recovery Systems (ERS)

The Kinetic Energy Recovery System is explained to the audience. Motorsport Business Forum, Grimaldi Forum, Monte Carlo, Monaco. 5-6 December 2007. World © Sutton Sauber C31 KERS keep clear sign.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Thursday, 30 August 2012 McLaren mechanic with KERS protection rubber gloves.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012

Long-time fans of Formula One racing will be familiar with the concept of a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), technology that was introduced to the sport in 2009 and was a mainstay from 2011. KERS worked by harnessing waste energy created under braking and transforming it into electrical energy, providing an additional 60kW (approximately 80bhp) of power for up to 6.67 seconds per lap.

The Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) which form an integral part of an F1 car’s power unit from 2014 take the concept of KERS to another level, combining twice the power with a performance effect around ten times greater.

ERS comprise two energy recovery systems (Motor Generator Unit - Kinetic [MGU-K] and Motor Generator Unit - Heat [MGU-H]), plus an Energy Store (ES) and control electronics.

The motor generator units convert mechanical and heat energy to electrical energy and vice versa. MGU-K works like an uprated version of KERS, converting kinetic energy generated under braking into electricity (rather than it escaping as heat). It also acts as a motor under acceleration, returning up to 120kW (approximately 160bhp) power to the drivetrain from the Energy Store.

MGU-H is an energy recovery system connected to the turbocharger of the engine and converts heat energy from exhaust gases into electrical energy. The energy can then be used to power the MGU-K (and thus the drivetrain) or be retained in the ES for subsequent use. Unlike the MGU-K which is limited to recovering 2MJ of energy per lap, the MGU-H is unlimited. MGU-H also controls the speed of the turbo, speeding it up (to prevent turbo lag) or slowing it down in place of a more traditional wastegate.

A maximum of 4MJ per lap can be returned to the MGU-K and from there to the drivetrain - that’s ten times more than with 2013’s KERS. That means drivers should have an additional 160bhp or so for approximately 33 seconds per lap.