Energy Saving Solutions

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thachieman350

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Hi all

My school technology group are currently working in partnership with Network Rail . Our aim is to come up with some innovations that could save or generate some energy. Now I already have one approved Idea wich uses pizso cells under rails to generate current. But I decided to see if I could get anymore idea's from the brainboxes of these forums <(

So anyone ?
 
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dvboy

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In Frankfurt recently the escalators in the s-bahn stations turned themselves off when no-one was using them. They activate when you step on them.
 

DXMachina

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using Piezo compression strips under rails has one extremely serious problem: The laws of physics

The compression of the cells that creates the power is caused by the downward pressure of the train. Adding a flexible layer robs the train of forward energy (it goes downward instead to the extent permitted by the piezo)

You can't get more energy out of a system than you put in (On this board we OBEY THE LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS!!) so you will increase the current required for traction by the amount lost, times the inefficiency factors of the piezo, the transmission system, and the trains traction pack and motors

Net loss: guaranteed. Wouldn't imagine it'd do much for the track either
 

DaveNewcastle

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Now I already have one approved Idea wich uses pizso cells under rails to generate current.
Oh dear!
That doesn't 'generate current' in any meaningful sense. It might convert some gravitational pressure into a voltage as the train drops a millimeter or so. Not much, but a little.
But where is the energy going to come from to lift the train back up that millimeter? Yep - it has to come from the supply network, with all its losses and its fuel distribution costs.

I think you've just come up with an idea for a very novel, unique and almost undetectable way of wasting a lot of energy and money!

Real energy savings can come from much simpler strategies which you should be able to calculate for yourself.
For example, suppose that you wanted to suggest that every temporary speed restriction (TSR) on the railways which involved loosing (say) 30 m.p.h. or more on a downhill gradient, or 15m.p.h. or more on an uphill gradient, was moved just a few hundred metres further back from the temporary site.
What would be the energy savings in earlier reduction in power and n the more gradual application of breaks?
 

Clip

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Id buy them hamster wheels instead. Do you know how cheap hamsters are to fuel? 1 box of cornflakes could see them run for one mile. thats amazing.

Though I have not done the complicated sums yet of how many Hamsters per axle you would need to run such a train but im working on it.
 

ainsworth74

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My idea would be to buy Hull Trains some pantographs or am I just being silly?
Well seeing as 180s are diesel hydraulic drive not diesel electric this means you'd need a very complex and expensive conversion (basically ripping out the existing drive and replacing it with a brand new one) to make them bi-mode. So yeah a little silly maybe ;)

But once (hopefully) the wires go up to Hull I'm fully in favour of buying an EMU for HT.
 

HSTEd

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Well seeing as 180s are diesel hydraulic drive not diesel electric this means you'd need a very complex and expensive conversion (basically ripping out the existing drive and replacing it with a brand new one) to make them bi-mode. So yeah a little silly maybe ;)

But once (hopefully) the wires go up to Hull I'm fully in favour of buying an EMU for HT.
Cascade the 180s to Grand Central who can then cascade the HSTs they have to CrossCountry who can then cascade an equivalent number of 221s to Hull Trains (essentially putting them back with Cl22x but with SuperVoyagers instead).
 

ainsworth74

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Cascade the 180s to Grand Central who can then cascade the HSTs they have to CrossCountry who can then cascade an equivalent number of 221s to Hull Trains
Not sure XC would want them, they're going to be shorter than the existing HST formations but more over they'd need to find more special paths for them as full length HSTs can't keep pace with Voyager paths (and if you shorten them to keep time then XC are taking on a old train offering only a small amount of extra capacity again doesn't seem sensible).

I just think it'd be better for 180s and HSTs to stay with GC and HT, as your suggestion sounds like moving stock around for the sake of it (that is until Hull is wired then cascade 180s to GC replaced by EMUs on HT services freeing GC HST for the cutter torch or further duties).
 

HSTEd

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I just think it'd be better for 180s and HSTs to stay with GC and HT, as your suggestion sounds like moving stock around for the sake of it (that is until Hull is wired then cascade 180s to GC replaced by EMUs on HT services freeing GC HST for the cutter torch or further duties).
And now you are making me think of the Futurama episode set in a mental hospital for robots where they randomly scream "CHANGE PLACES!" during the middle of a therapy session and everyone, including the psychiatrist, change seats.
 

ainsworth74

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And now you are making me think of the Futurama episode set in a mental hospital for robots where they randomly scream "CHANGE PLACES!" during the middle of a therapy session and everyone, including the psychiatrist, change seats.
Well that is one way of looking at rolling stock movements I suppose :lol:
 

JGR

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Hi all

My school technology group are currently working in partnership with Network Rail . Our aim is to come up with some innovations that could save or generate some energy. Now I already have one approved Idea wich uses pizso cells under rails to generate current. But I decided to see if I could get anymore idea's from the brainboxes of these forums <(

So anyone ?
Have you calculated how much energy that might "save"?
Ideally rail flex should be minimal, and deliberately making it worse to generate absolutely minuscule amounts of energy is a bad move.

By far the most significant energy pool to be tapped is that lost through braking.
On-board, grid-based and gradient-based regenerative systems are not new, but are probably the best place to start.
 

Clip

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I reckon ive done some good number crunching on the hamster issue but we're looking at well over 3500 hamster per axle. Im not sure if there would be enough room for that many hamster per axle so I would then propose that you beef them up with steroids and a strict training regime and we could probably get that down to around the 2000 hamster mark.

some of the engineers on here would know better but what if we also hooked them up to a rather elaborate gearing system? Would we be able to gear it so that we could reduce the hamster ratio down to about 1000 per axle aas this i believe is the optimum number of hamsters per axle before you have to start building bigger trains to accomodate them.

Ive not worked out just yet how much fuel a beefed up hamster would need above my recommendation of 1 box of cornflakes per mile but it would be worth it for the increased out put IMO.Maybe throw in some raisins of berries? Or how about just change the diet to Frosties so the sugar gives them an extra kick or would the sugar rush peter out too quickly?

Wow, there are a lot of variables going on here, think I should step back and work on my sums then get back to you all.
 

wintonian

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I reckon ive done some good number crunching on the hamster issue but we're looking at well over 3500 hamster per axle. Im not sure if there would be enough room for that many hamster per axle so I would then propose that you beef them up with steroids and a strict training regime and we could probably get that down to around the 2000 hamster mark.

some of the engineers on here would know better but what if we also hooked them up to a rather elaborate gearing system? Would we be able to gear it so that we could reduce the hamster ratio down to about 1000 per axle aas this i believe is the optimum number of hamsters per axle before you have to start building bigger trains to accomodate them.

Ive not worked out just yet how much fuel a beefed up hamster would need above my recommendation of 1 box of cornflakes per mile but it would be worth it for the increased out put IMO.Maybe throw in some raisins of berries? Or how about just change the diet to Frosties so the sugar gives them an extra kick or would the sugar rush peter out too quickly?

Wow, there are a lot of variables going on here, think I should step back and work on my sums then get back to you all.
I apologise for this pointless and irrelevant post but I would just like to point Clip and his merry hamsters in this direction as I fear we went widely off topic some time ago. :)

Yes kids the Internet really did used to look like that.
 

DownSouth

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I would suggest using the land in the rail corridor or roofs on buildings to set up lots of solar panels. The rail network is mostly used during the day, so it gives the best chance to relieve the load on coal/gas-fired power plants and provide a meaningful proportion of power for the electric trains used.

If they start now, it should be complete in time for when "global warming" [sic] turns the miserable English weather into something more like Australia where solar panels work for more than a few days each year.


A more serious suggestion for England would be rebuilding stations currently situated near level crossings on elevated humps to allow gravity to take care of a decent proportion of braking and acceleration effort. You get grade separation, a new station and an energy efficiency improvement all in one go.

Other useful improvements could be more electrification, which in turn allows more regenerative or dynamic braking. You then get the added bonus of reduced wear on the friction brakes.
 

thachieman350

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Looks like my idea has gone down the toilet. We also already have the idea for solar panels thanks. Big thanks for the input guys :)

Any more idea's ?
 

Stewart

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I would suggest using the land in the rail corridor or roofs on buildings to set up lots of solar panels. The rail network is mostly used during the day, so it gives the best chance to relieve the load on coal/gas-fired power plants and provide a meaningful proportion of power for the electric trains used.

If they start now, it should be complete in time for when "global warming" [sic] turns the miserable English weather into something more like Australia where solar panels work for more than a few days each year.


A more serious suggestion for England would be rebuilding stations currently situated near level crossings on elevated humps to allow gravity to take care of a decent proportion of braking and acceleration effort. You get grade separation, a new station and an energy efficiency improvement all in one go.

Other useful improvements could be more electrification, which in turn allows more regenerative or dynamic braking. You then get the added bonus of reduced wear on the friction brakes.
Solar panels are not cost-effective, and even the initial believers in global warming (or climate change, or global weirding, or floody-drought, or whatever it's called these days) have stopped believing in it. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/23/breaking-james-lovelock-back-down-on-climate-alarm/
 

HSTEd

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Solar panels are not cost-effective, and even the initial believers in global warming (or climate change, or global weirding, or floody-drought, or whatever it's called these days) have stopped believing in it. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/23/breaking-james-lovelock-back-down-on-climate-alarm/
That guy is clearly a nutcase anyway, or one of those idiots that has no faith in the glory of science.

Granite to Quorn thanks to the power of atomic reactors anyone? :D (I can explain that process in more detail if anyone wants)
 

DownSouth

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Solar panels are not cost-effective
Try reading for comprehension, I wasn't serious.

Solar panels do work in areas with appropriate weather patterns, which unfortunately excludes Britain. When you have the world's most remote railway and the signals are there only to indicate the state of the points and loop occupancy, it makes sense to use solar power rather than setting up a whole new electricity network for just a couple of signals.
 

eastwestdivide

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The piezo thing looks like a non-runner - even if you restricted it to just the sections where every train would normally be braking, i.e. the run-in to stations on suburban routes where everything stops everywhere, you've just made a more complex form of regenerative braking.
If you're building new lines, take the example of the Victoria line in central London, where the tunnels run slightly uphill into the stations and slightly downhill out, resulting in energy saving with no special on-board technology.
Elsewhere, measures to avoid braking and stopping when you don't need to would result in a lot of energy saving. Better regulation/timekeeping at conflicting junctions for example, or on long-distance services, adjusting speed down by 5-10mph when there are allowances in the timetable and no temporary speed restrictions to eat into those allowances.
Or, even more radical, reduce demand for travel so you don't need to run as many trains. One day a week working from home for office workers, make it easier for people to live closer to their job. Over to the politicians to make it work!
 
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LexyBoy

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Electrification
Lighter trains
Turning off station lights when closed
Electrification
Better insulation
Electrification
Gas rather than electric heating
Did I mention electrification?

I'd also agree on solar panels on new roofs - as water heating where required (much better payback than PV), with PV on e.g. trainsheds. Although PV is expensive now, it's getting cheaper while fossil fuels are getting more expensive.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Solar panels do work in areas with appropriate weather patterns, which unfortunately excludes Britain.
Solar panels depend on insolation, which weather only has a small effect on. Being at a high latitude means the available solar energy is relatively small compared to southern Europe, Africa and parts of the US, for example.

Solar panels can still work here - and are widely used - where connection to the grid would be expensive and the application only has a modest, and steady, power requirement. Weather monitoring stations and real-time bus information boards are visible examples.
 

jon0844

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Wow, there are a lot of variables going on here, think I should step back and work on my sums then get back to you all.
Given hamsters aren't flammable, nor cornflakes, I think your idea would see a lot less fires - and thus make the 180s far more reliable.

So whatever the final calculations, I think this should be a go!

Or, even more radical, reduce demand for travel so you don't need to run as many trains. One day a week working from home for office workers, make it easier for people to live closer to their job. Over to the politicians to make it work!
When I saw TfL speak on this subject, I quickly got the impression that they don't want to do anything to discourage usage. That's why, for example, you can't get flexible season tickets, or other discounts to make it feasible to stay at home one or two days a week, when you'll almost certainly have to pay for those days anyway (if you have a season ticket, as most people would). They'd prefer overcrowding than empty trains, and to be able to plan on expanding the transport infrastructure.

Politicians can say what they like, but while reducing usage is the easiest way to reduce congestion and (potentially) save energy, there are other factors at play. If less people do travel, it will be great for squashed passengers, but there's also a loss in revenue.
 
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LE Greys

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Well, a couple of simple ones. Firstly, make sure all stations have good access to sunlight during the day unless they are genuinely underground. No need to light them then. Same applies to airport terminals and shops, but that's beside the point. Secondly, fit either solar panels or wind turbines to as many structures as possible. Thirdly, get electrifying!

I reckon ive done some good number crunching on the hamster issue but we're looking at well over 3500 hamster per axle. Im not sure if there would be enough room for that many hamster per axle so I would then propose that you beef them up with steroids and a strict training regime and we could probably get that down to around the 2000 hamster mark.

some of the engineers on here would know better but what if we also hooked them up to a rather elaborate gearing system? Would we be able to gear it so that we could reduce the hamster ratio down to about 1000 per axle aas this i believe is the optimum number of hamsters per axle before you have to start building bigger trains to accomodate them.

Ive not worked out just yet how much fuel a beefed up hamster would need above my recommendation of 1 box of cornflakes per mile but it would be worth it for the increased out put IMO.Maybe throw in some raisins of berries? Or how about just change the diet to Frosties so the sugar gives them an extra kick or would the sugar rush peter out too quickly?

Wow, there are a lot of variables going on here, think I should step back and work on my sums then get back to you all.
Someone once told me that USS Enterprise had a giant Hamster in a wheel as her real power source...
 

jopsuk

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There's a railway line in either the netherlands or belgium that already has a long stretch roofed over with photovoltaic cells, so that's not a new idea...
 

JGR

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I reckon ive done some good number crunching on the hamster issue but we're looking at well over 3500 hamster per axle. Im not sure if there would be enough room for that many hamster per axle so I would then propose that you beef them up with steroids and a strict training regime and we could probably get that down to around the 2000 hamster mark.

some of the engineers on here would know better but what if we also hooked them up to a rather elaborate gearing system? Would we be able to gear it so that we could reduce the hamster ratio down to about 1000 per axle aas this i believe is the optimum number of hamsters per axle before you have to start building bigger trains to accomodate them.

Ive not worked out just yet how much fuel a beefed up hamster would need above my recommendation of 1 box of cornflakes per mile but it would be worth it for the increased out put IMO.Maybe throw in some raisins of berries? Or how about just change the diet to Frosties so the sugar gives them an extra kick or would the sugar rush peter out too quickly?

Wow, there are a lot of variables going on here, think I should step back and work on my sums then get back to you all.
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Science-Kids-3250/Hamster-Power.htm :P

If we're very generous and say that these are epic hamsters which can do a continuous 1W.
To power a 377/3 at 1300hp, that is an near as matters 1MW, you'd need one million hamsters total.
Going by wikipedia there are 4 powered axles in a 377/3 set, so that's 250khamsters/axle.

If you're prepared to put up with reduced acceleration, reduced top speed or much lighter trains you could trim that a bit though ^^.
 
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Clip

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http://en.allexperts.com/q/Science-Kids-3250/Hamster-Power.htm :P

If we're very generous and say that these are epic hamster's which can do a continuous 1W.
To power a 377/3 at 1300hp, that is an near as matters 1MW, you'd need one million hamsters total.
Going by wikipedia there are 4 powered axles in a 377/3 set, so that's 250khamsters/axle.

If you're prepared to put up with reduced acceleration, reduced top speed or much lighter trains you could trim that a bit though ^^.
See people. This is what Im on about. And you didnt wake up to a loon posting drivel on your forum.

Though it is worth noting that I just plucked hamster numbers out the air but it could be feasible.
 
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