Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Betsy Aller

Second Advisor

Alamgir Choudhury

Third Advisor

Jorge Rodriguez


The rising cost of energy has prompted industrial and technology companies to research and implement renewable or green energy sources in every aspect of their business. This green technology can consist of sources such as: solar, wind, fluid, or others to create energy from renewable sources. The use of these various sources reduces the pollution associated with standard methods of energy development, and it will ultimately drive costs down to benefit the general population. One of the largest benefactors to the use of renewable energy sources is the transportation industry. Billions of people rely on various modes of transportation every day, and the creation of renewable energy for transportation will help create a more sustainable society.

One innovative way to promote the research and development of renewable energy for transportation is through the Chainless Challenge competition hosted by Parker-Hannifin Corporation (Parker) and the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA). Established in 2004 the competition leads various students across the country to develop alternative transportation methods with the use of vehicles and fluid power. Western Michigan University (WMU) will be participating in this competition, and the team will consist of seven students (four mechanical and three electrical members) and two faculty advisors. The team represents the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) and this project is held as a senior capstone project.

The main objective for this project is to design and fabricate a unique energy-efficient fluid power system that is human-assisted. This system will be used to power an individual transportation device; it will also utilize green engineering concepts, and will go through extensive testing to ensure an optimal and efficient design. This project was approached through a typical engineering design process, which started with the definition of the need of the project, and the constraints that were required. Once those were established, the team defined specific goals/objectives for the project, and developed various criteria that would guide the project, and developed goals/objectives for the project. The next step was to brainstorm conceptual ideas for the project, and evaluate each alternative that was presented. Once the overall design was decided, the team began to design the details of the complete system, starting with the selection of the frame and the hydraulic components, then the system was modeled in CAD software and the hydraulic system was designed with simulation software tools.

The second part (i.e. spring semester) of this project was devoted to the fabrication, assembly, and testing of the system. The assembly of the various components was performed in steps, which started with frame modifications, then the mounting bracket fabrication and component placement, and finally the hydraulic system implementation. The hydraulic system is designed to operate at the most efficient levels possible for this application and features four modes of operation. The direct drive mode will move the bike through pedaling, the charging mode will pressurize the accumulators, the discharging mode releases the stored energy in the accumulators, and the regeneration mode will also store energy in the accumulators when the operator is braking or slowing down. This system is designed for the best performance during the various races at the competition, and our team is eager to see how well the system will perform against other competitors.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access