Saving Fuel in Rail Vehicles

Since 2013, Artemis has been proud to work with leading companies Ricardo and Bombardier on the project ‘Digital Displacement® Rail Transmission with Flywheel Energy Storage’ which has been supported by the government funding body Innovate UK.

In November 2014 the project won top prize in ‘The Most Interesting initiative in safety and sustainability’ category at The Rail Exec Club Awards in Leicester on 29th November 2014.

The system is based on the use of Artemis Digital Displacement® pump-motors to capture braking energy from diesel multiple unit (DMU) rail cars, store it in high tech Ricardo flywheels and then use it to displace diesel fuel during vehicle acceleration. Such energy recovery is commonplace on modern electric trains but there is general agreement in the rail industry that are many routes where electrification is unlikely ever to make economic sense.

As we prepare for lab demonstrations of the system to rail industry experts, Ricardo have published a press release giving more details of the project.

In the words of Ricardo: “The ‘DDFlyTrain’ project has projected a fuel saving of around 10 percent based on the use of high speed flywheel brake recovery technology retrofitted to DMU rolling stock. This order of saving means that the technology has a potential return on investment of inside five years. The project has also produced a proof of concept test rig used to demonstrate the technology to rail industry stakeholders and a concept for integration onto a Bombardier Turbostar DMU”.

Torqstor - 1200w

Ricardo’s Torqstor energy storage unit upon its arrival at Artemis

TorqStor on test 1200w

Test setup in the Artemis lab. The TorqStor unit within the safety drum on the left is coupled to the ‘C8’ Digital Displacement® pump-motor on the right

KERS DDPM - 1200W

A ‘KERS’ Digital Displacement® pump-motor within an adjacent test cell is coupled to a variable speed electric motor and simulates braking and acceleration energy transfers from and to the DMU rail vehicle driveline

If you’d like to know more about this project, please see the paper written by members of the project consortium lead by Professor Jon Wheals of Ricardo for the IMechE’s Stephenson Conference in April 2015 : Viable flywheel system for rail.

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