In the hydraulic lifting systems of wheel loaders, the valve controlled systems are used to drive the hydraulic cylinder to complete frequent lifting and falling operations. The gravitational potential energy of the lifting system, accumulated in the lifting process, is converted into heat energy through the throttling port of the valve during the falling processes, which results in significant throttling loss and severe system overheating. To solve the problems, a potential energy regeneration and utilization system is proposed, where the closed loop pump controlled circuit based on the gravity self-balancing hydraulic cylinder is adopted to eliminate throttling loss, and the gravity self-balancing chamber of the cylinder is directly connected with accumulator to recycle gravity potential energy. In the research, the structure and working principle of the proposed hydraulic system is analyzed first, then the co-simulation model and the test prototype are established to investigate the working and energy characteristics of the proposed system. Test results indicate that, compared with the traditional valve controlled hydraulic system, 58.9% energy consumption reduction can be expected for the hydraulic pump by adopting the proposed system under the same working condition.

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