London Tube Trail Uses Regenerative Breaking to Save Power

New London tube train 1 photo
Most of the automakers are using regenerative braking systems on their new models nowadays. It’s been proven you can harvest energy from the friction caused by a stopping vehicle. For an Underground transportation system that carries 1.2 billion passengers a year over 402 km (250 mi) of track, saving energy would undoubtedly help the London Tube.
Huge or gigantic is how you’d define the costs of a fleet of trains covering 76.2 million km (47 million mi). Put it this way, some stations handle 89 million passengers annually. With these numbers, London Underground has decided to find ways to get a more sustainable way around it.

A world-first trial that uses the latest technology to collect waste energy from Tube train brakes has captured enough power to run a large Underground station. A new “inverter” system was used at the Cloudesley Road substation on the Victoria line for a five-week trial, and, according to Transport for London, in just one week of operation the new technology recovered enough power to run a station for more than two days per week.

The findings are quite impressive, considering this technology could help LU reduce its overall carbon footprint and save as much as £6 million ($9.1 million) every year for reinvestment in improving transport.

Researchers also discovered that as well as saving energy, the technology has the added benefit of lessening the amount of heat generated by trains braking in tunnels. This also reduces the energy required to operate LU’s cooling systems.

1 Megawatt-hour of energy per day

In terms of figures, the results indicate that 1 Megawatt-hour (MWh) of energy can be captured per day, which is enough to power 104 homes per year.

However, the trial wasn’t just a random exercise apparently, considering that it’s part of a number of other measures put in place by the Mayor and Transport for London to make the capital’s Tube system greener.
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