Battery powered EMUs

Status
Not open for further replies.

Monarch010

Member
Joined
28 Feb 2013
Messages
54
Two questions:

1. A year or so ago NR ran some passenger-carrying trials of a 379 modified to use battery power on the Harwich - Mannigtree line. Were any results/conclusions published?

2. Alstom are currently developing a fleet of MUs using fuel cell technology for service on German regional railways. Has anyone in the UK (NR, TOCs, manufacturers) expressed interest in this?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Blamethrower

Member
Joined
13 Oct 2014
Messages
384
Location
Bedfordshire
1. Haven't seen any results myself
2. Fuel cell tech is still a long way off general release

The thing is, Hydrogen is great, but producing it is a monumental undertaking. Sure it's one of the most abundant resources we have, but in order to extract it in it's pure form, we need to use tons of energy = not a solution

Batteries - no-one will ever convince me that batteries are the way to go, they are just too heavy and too inefficient for long term applications.

For me I would do something like - http://www.translink.ca/en/Schedules-and-Maps/SkyTrain.aspx

Skytrain uses maglev purely as a propulsion system for wheel on rail applications. Costs a lot less than building a pure maglev and the capability can essentially be bolted onto any train (not that simple obviously)

I agree that there needs to be new ways of powering non-electrified lines, I personally would choose something different and something which is now, a proven technology
 

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,636
They are in daily use on buses in Milton Keynes and London, and probably elsewhere.

The Manchester Metroshuttle service uses battery powered Optare Versas but then they aren't used on any roads where the speed limit is over 30mph. Other operators in Manchester use hybrids which use batteries to move off but switch to diesel running when they get to 5mph.
 
Last edited:

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
65,551
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
The Manchester Metroshuttle service uses battery powered Optare Versas but then they aren't used on any roads where the speed limit is over 30mph. Other operators in Manchester use hybrids which use batteries to move off but switch to diesel running when they get to 5mph.

Milton Keynes route 7 uses battery powered Wright midibuses, and runs on roads where the speed limit is 70mph (though it doesn't reach that speed, its performance is certainly near identical to the diesel buses that used to run on the route).
 

snowball

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2013
Messages
4,943
Location
Leeds
Skytrain uses maglev purely as a propulsion system for wheel on rail applications. Costs a lot less than building a pure maglev and the capability can essentially be bolted onto any train (not that simple obviously)

So mag but not lev.
 

najaB

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Aug 2011
Messages
24,014
Location
Scotland
The thing is, Hydrogen is great, but producing it is a monumental undertaking. Sure it's one of the most abundant resources we have, but in order to extract it in it's pure form, we need to use tons of energy = not a solution
Hydrogen is an energy storage medium. And a pretty good one at that, but it shouldn't be seen as fuel.
Batteries - no-one will ever convince me that batteries are the way to go, they are just too heavy and too inefficient for long term applications.
A few years ago I would've agreed, but battery technology has come along leaps and bounds over the last decade or so. They aren't your father's batteries.
 

Phil.

Established Member
Joined
10 Oct 2015
Messages
1,323
Location
Penzance
The Southern region's fleet of ten MLVs could run on battery power for off the juice running.
 

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
20,936
Location
Nottingham
Eric Laithwaite's linear induction motor then.

I don't see that this has much advantage. Still almost the same amount of moving parts, with the exception of the motors and their gearing which are replaced by a metal plate along the track and some coils underneath the train. A rotary motor is pretty efficient so replacing it by a linear motor won't save much energy.
 

furnessvale

Established Member
Joined
14 Jul 2015
Messages
4,041
I don't see that this has much advantage. Still almost the same amount of moving parts, with the exception of the motors and their gearing which are replaced by a metal plate along the track and some coils underneath the train. A rotary motor is pretty efficient so replacing it by a linear motor won't save much energy.

Indeed, I wasn't advocating it, just naming it!

There is however one theoretical advantage. As the tractive and braking effort does not pass through the wheel/rail interface, higher levels of acceleration and deceleration can be achieved without wheelslip or slide.

Not a lot of use on a good rail as the maximum level a standing passenger can withstand can be obtained with a standard motor on rail.

It could, however, be useful in leaf-fall season! :)
 
Joined
13 Dec 2015
Messages
26
Location
Greater Newcastle ( aka Tyneside )
Other operators in Manchester use hybrids which use batteries to move off but switch to diesel running when they get to 5mph.

The Volvo B5LH ( The Vehicle your talking about ) does indeed run only on batteries till around 5 mph but 5mph upwards continues to provide electric running alongside the Engine. So arnt exactly Diesel Running, Its called a combined hybrid I believe.
 

coppercapped

Established Member
Joined
13 Sep 2015
Messages
2,591
Location
Reading
Two questions:

1. A year or so ago NR ran some passenger-carrying trials of a 379 modified to use battery power on the Harwich - Mannigtree line. Were any results/conclusions published?

Yes, but not a lot was made public. Some points did emerge:

  • the concept worked (but that was already known since the battery electric emu on the Aberdeen - Ballater branch in 1958)
  • even using lithium ion batteries instead of lead-acid the battery pack is heavy
  • the range on battery power alone is very limited, about 5% to 6% of that of a diesel engine and fuel of the same mass
  • batteries need replacing every six or seven years - and are expensive.

2. Alstom are currently developing a fleet of MUs using fuel cell technology for service on German regional railways. Has anyone in the UK (NR, TOCs, manufacturers) expressed interest in this?

The actual deal is that Alstom are committed to supplying two prototype trains by 2018. If they work then the deal is to supply 40 commercial trains by 2020.

As far as I know, in the UK nothing has been made public that any work is being done in this area.

Fuel cells have one significant drawback when used for traction purposes - they are very bad at supplying variable loads. They work best when supplying a constant power. So the Alstom units will also, reportedly, carry batteries to help deal with changing loads - my guess is that the fuel cell will charge the battery at a constant rate and in turn the battery will supply the traction power.

Having said all that - battery technology is advancing - but the energy density limits are set by chemistry. Nevertheless google for 'Gigafactory' and look at the size of the plant in the Nevada desert that Elon Musk is building to make batteries...
 
Last edited:

dk1

Established Member
Joined
2 Oct 2009
Messages
9,539
Location
East Anglia
I was impressed with the 379 when on the Harwich Branch. Just need to sort out over 50miles & reliability & it will revolutionise some short branch lines just off an OHL route. Would've though Windemere to be perfect but looks like it's going back to a shuttle for much of the day & I think being electrified. GW branches out of Paddington appear at first to be a good area for these but as they are self contained & not running back onto the main line, when would charging take place?
 

Robbies

Established Member
Joined
20 Sep 2009
Messages
2,291
Location
East Sussex
I was impressed with the 379 when on the Harwich Branch. Just need to sort out over 50miles & reliability & it will revolutionise some short branch lines just off an OHL route. Would've though Windemere to be perfect but looks like it's going back to a shuttle for much of the day & I think being electrified. GW branches out of Paddington appear at first to be a good area for these but as they are self contained & not running back onto the main line, when would charging take place?

Surely, the charging can be done up to the point where the branch spurs off from the mainline such that the train while in motion changes from AC to battery power?
 

D365

Established Member
Joined
29 Jun 2012
Messages
8,323
Surely, the charging can be done up to the point where the branch spurs off from the mainline such that the train while in motion changes from AC to battery power?

On a branch line which is self-contained and does not run onto the mainline?..
 

NoMorePacers

Established Member
Joined
18 Feb 2016
Messages
1,267
Location
Humberside
NR are proposing a few schemes for the Borderlands Line (Wrexham Central-Bidston)
1: Extend it to become part of the Merseyrail network (which involves third rail)
2: Overhead wires
3: Battery-powered trains
 

coppercapped

Established Member
Joined
13 Sep 2015
Messages
2,591
Location
Reading
Surely, the charging can be done up to the point where the branch spurs off from the mainline such that the train while in motion changes from AC to battery power?

Assuming you are writing about the GW branches, when Crossrail starts there will be no through trains from the main line to the branches. How would you get a 9-car Crossrail train into Bourne End or Henley - SDO with a vengeance!
 

D365

Established Member
Joined
29 Jun 2012
Messages
8,323
NR are proposing a few schemes for the Borderlands Line (Wrexham Central-Bidston)
1: Extend it to become part of the Merseyrail network (which involves third rail)
2: Overhead wires
3: Battery-powered trains

Your numbers 1 and 2 (3 possible but unlikely) are effectively the same point, if the Merseyrail extension is to go ahead.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
How would you get a 9-car Crossrail train into Bourne End or Henley - SDO with a vengeance!

Never mind that Crossrail trains will definitely not be fitted with batteries...
 

Robbies

Established Member
Joined
20 Sep 2009
Messages
2,291
Location
East Sussex
On a branch line which is self-contained and does not run onto the mainline?..

When has the Branch lines out of Paddingtton not been on the mainline?

If the routes are self contained then how does the class 165/166 units get to the branch lines?
 

D365

Established Member
Joined
29 Jun 2012
Messages
8,323
Self-contained meaning trains in service on a branch run independently and apart from the mainline. Obviously the mainline connection will be retained to get the unit to/from the depot.
 

Robbies

Established Member
Joined
20 Sep 2009
Messages
2,291
Location
East Sussex
Self-contained meaning trains in service on a branch run independently and apart from the mainline. Obviously the mainline connection will be retained to get the unit to/from the depot.

Then the trains while in the depot can be charged overnight and the batteries can be additionally charged when AC power is used on the mainline in getting the train from the depot to the branch, plus also from the branch to the depot when electrification has been completed on the mainline.
 

D365

Established Member
Joined
29 Jun 2012
Messages
8,323
Didn't think that batteries are good enough to give all-day service just yet...
 

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
20,936
Location
Nottingham
Basically the train has to spend enough time under AC overhead to charge the batteries up sufficiently before each run on a non-electrified section. The rate of charging the batteries is probably limited by the technology of the batteries themselves but also by the maximum current the train is allowed to take from the OLE, especially if it is also needing some of that current to move itself at the same time.

A typical "self-contained" branch off an electrified line might have OLE in the branch platform at the junction so the train could charge up there. But unless the branch is very short a train that shuttles up and down the branch all day might need a long layover to collect enough energy for its next trip. In extreme cases there might need to be an extra train for the branch and an extra platform for it to sit charging in - which is probably going to be more expensive than electrifying the rest of the branch.

Having an independent section of OLE at the branch terminus would help a bit more but again would be costly - a 25kV feeder is expensive and probably needs a fairly hefty connetion off the National Grid even if it only powers one train. And if the power or the equipment fails the service would have to be suspended, unlike a normal AC network where if one feeder fails power can be fed in from others.
 
Last edited:

paul1609

Established Member
Joined
28 Jan 2006
Messages
4,627
Location
Wittersham Kent
Two questions:

1. A year or so ago NR ran some passenger-carrying trials of a 379 modified to use battery power on the Harwich - Mannigtree line. Were any results/conclusions published?

2. Alstom are currently developing a fleet of MUs using fuel cell technology for service on German regional railways. Has anyone in the UK (NR, TOCs, manufacturers) expressed interest in this?

The conclusions for the 379 were that the trial was technically feasible but that leasing maintenance charges and relative fuel costs with the current battery technology meant that it was uneconomic for squadron service by a very wide margin when compared with using a standard DMU on the non electrified service. I can't remember the exact cost but I think it was something of the region of 3.5 times the running cost of the DMU.
 

Philip Phlopp

Established Member
Joined
31 May 2015
Messages
3,004
Basically the train has to spend enough time under AC overhead to charge the batteries up sufficiently before each run on a non-electrified section. The rate of charging the batteries is probably limited by the technology of the batteries themselves but also by the maximum current the train is allowed to take from the OLE, especially if it is also needing some of that current to move itself at the same time.

A typical "self-contained" branch off an electrified line might have OLE in the branch platform at the junction so the train could charge up there. But unless the branch is very short a train that shuttles up and down the branch all day might need a long layover to collect enough energy for its next trip. In extreme cases there might need to be an extra train for the branch and an extra platform for it to sit charging in - which is probably going to be more expensive than electrifying the rest of the branch.

Having an independent section of OLE at the branch terminus would help a bit more but again would be costly - a 25kV feeder is expensive and probably needs a fairly hefty connetion off the National Grid even if it only powers one train. And if the power or the equipment fails the service would have to be suspended, unlike a normal AC network where if one feeder fails power can be fed in from others.

That's fantasy territory. A grid connection and feeder is typically an eight figure sum.
 
Last edited:

Greybeard33

Established Member
Joined
18 Feb 2012
Messages
3,242
Location
Greater Manchester
Having an independent section of OLE at the branch terminus would help a bit more but again would be costly - a 25kV feeder is expensive and probably needs a fairly hefty connetion off the National Grid even if it only powers one train. And if the power or the equipment fails the service would have to be suspended, unlike a normal AC network where if one feeder fails power can be fed in from others.
Might the IPEMU be equipped to use switch between 25kV AC and 1500V or 750V DC OHL, like some continental trains/tram-trains? Then perhaps the branch terminus could be equipped with a short section of DC OHL, fed by a local 3-phase substation from the local MV distribution network. This would be less expensive than a single phase connection point direct to the Supergrid or a dedicated 25kV transmission line along the branch. The substation could have redundant transformer-rectifiers to ensure reliable charging power.
 

dk1

Established Member
Joined
2 Oct 2009
Messages
9,539
Location
East Anglia
Surely, the charging can be done up to the point where the branch spurs off from the mainline such that the train while in motion changes from AC to battery power?

It needs a good deal of time to recharge. That's what I was trying to say. For example, the Harwich unit has approx 15min each hour at Manningtree. That is not enough to maintain a branch shuttle. Now if it continued under the wires to Liverpool St it wouldn't be an issue.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top