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Electronics & Test

Energy Storage Could Make Electric Trains More Efficient

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Beth Stackpole
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High visibility, high utility
Beth Stackpole   7/5/2012 7:45:21 AM
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Wow. Very cool idea and great application of energy storage technology. Also a great test case for other cities and rail systems. My big question is who is paying for this pilot? It's got to be very expensive and with funding so tight for infrastructure-type projects across the country, I'm assuming this owned by the private sector. What's the likelihood that something like this has legs for being applied to other rail systems?

ttemple
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Why not manage schedules?
ttemple   7/5/2012 8:43:35 AM
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It looks like the energy could be managed by controlling who is starting and who is stopping, who is going up hills and who is going down hills, etc.  I didn't realize that they ever dumped energy.  I just figured things balanced out as some trains were stopping or going down hill while others were starting or going up hill, etc.  You would think that an intelligent scheduler could manage things such that energy storage was not needed.

I would think it would only take slight timing changes to keep the loads balanced to where you wouldn't have to dump energy, or store it.

tekochip
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Metrics
tekochip   7/5/2012 2:12:06 PM
It would be nice to see some numbers on how much energy could be saved and what they believe the ROI time would be.

naperlou
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Intelligent storage
naperlou   7/5/2012 2:20:16 PM
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This is a great use of technology to enhance efficiency.  It seems like a trend.  Large diesel locomotives have begun using hybrid technology as well.  Similar to this idea, they capture energy generated during breaking to provide low latency energy for acceleration.  Thus, the diesel engines can be used more efficiently. 

As Beth asks, I wonder how much this costs.  Of course, the real metric is the cost to benefit ratio.  Even a costly battery is worth it if it saves money on electricity from the utility.

Jerry dycus
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Re: Metrics
Jerry dycus   7/5/2012 4:39:36 PM
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  The ROI  and EROI isn't going to be good with this system, battery though using lead or molten salt might be cost effective near stations.

GE is currently doing a molten salt hybrid train Loco  that would be a better way.

The only reason the voltage might go too high is high resistance in the 3rd rail not able to pass the power along and train operators slowing the train too fast.  Training the engineers would be more cost effective eliminating the problem.

In the Rockies trains were scheduled so when one was going down it's energy was used to run another up the mountain.  They stopped that back when oil got so cheap.

 

warren@fourward.com
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Energy Storage Could Make Electric Trains More Efficient
warren@fourward.com   7/5/2012 6:53:56 PM
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Now we're talking!  What a great practical use of wasted energy.  Especially when going down hill with megatons of load!  I hope there is a future for this energy and it doesn't continue to go to waste. 

Now, how can we do the same with other big systems on a large scale?  The problem is, I can't think of anything to compare with trains.  They are unique in this way.  Good luck to Saft.

Charles Murray
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Re: Metrics
Charles Murray   7/5/2012 8:43:19 PM
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To some degree, they are in unexplored territory here, tekochip. Although regenerative braking and power assist have been done, the concept of piggybacking frequency regulation on top of regenerative braking in an application like this is new. Over time, the pilot will tell them more about the ROI.

TJ McDermott
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Portable
TJ McDermott   7/6/2012 12:26:50 AM
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The image shows what looks like a somewhat standard shipping container.  Portable, 1.5 MW containers of power.  What could you do with that?

Mydesign
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Re-generation of Energy
Mydesign   7/6/2012 2:03:16 AM
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"An energy storage project in Philadelphia promises to capture braking energy and provide a voltage boost for electric trains"

Charles, what would be the amplitude of this barking energy. Since most of the components in braking systems are electro-hydraulic components, I feel that only a little amount of energy can be regenerate in normal course (Am not sure). But anyway regeneration or reusing the energy is the best part.

Mydesign
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Re: Energy Storage Could Make Electric Trains More Efficient
Mydesign   7/6/2012 2:07:54 AM
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Warren, am totally agreeing to your concept. It's the time to think about energy conservation, regeneration and exploring natural energy sources. Even am thinking further about generating energy, while train runs through the track.

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