The 2012 NFPA Innovation Award was presented to Jude Hueber of Lightning Hybrids Inc. for his innovative use of a hydraulic system specifically designed to allow kinetic energy recovery and re-use in commercial on-road vehicles.

The winner was selected by NFPA Marketing Committee volunteers from nominations submitted to NFPA during the application process.  The award recognizes innovative applications of hydraulics and pneumatics by customers and users of fluid power, and is part of a Marketing Committee effort to draw attention to advances in fluid power and the advantages of using fluid power.

The hybrid hydraulic drive system designed by Hueber for Lightning Hybrids integrates components from various manufacturers with sophisticated software that controls the speed of fixed displacement pumps and accumulator pressures to optimize efficiency for lighter shuttle buses and delivery vehicles.  Drivers can monitor system performance on the fly via dashboard mounted tablet computer.  According to Lightning Hybrids, the system has achieved energy savings, or corresponding emissions reductions, of 33% to 40% over similar vehicles with conventional drivetrains. 

The 2013 application submission will open in June and submissions will be accepted until August 31, 2013. NFPA members are encouraged to submit innovative fluid power applications in any of the customer markets they serve.