This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine Issue 5 2021.
Transport accounts for 27% of Europe’s total CO2 emissions. Rail is one of the greenest modes of transport so having a higher share of passenger and freight journeys performed by train is fundamental for decarbonising the transport sector.
However, despite rail transport being one of the most energy efficient modes of transport, the rail industry is also making efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and save energy.
“Environmental stewardship is a priority for the rail industry and this impacts everything. Everyone is on board with the goal of reducing consumption of energy and lowering carbon emissions, and this is becoming a competitive edge for companies when they apply for tenders,” confirms Tobias Ragnarsson, Sales Director at Skeleton Technologies. “This is precisely one of the main reasons why supercapacitors are becoming increasingly popular among rail companies.”
Supercapacitors are an energy storage technology that offers high power density, almost instant charging and discharging, high reliability, and very long lifetimes. They are routinely used in trams, and they have been implemented on trains as well. Increasingly, they are becoming key to rail transport. Their implementation provides effective voltage stabilisation for rail systems, greatly improves the performance of propulsion for light rail vehicles, and significantly advances the locomotive engine starting technologies.
One of the key applications for supercapacitors in the rail industry is KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), an onboard energy storage system, which captures braking energy in trams to power acceleration and decreases carbon emissions. Implementation of this system results in improved fuel efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions, faster tram acceleration and less noise.
“Using Skeleton’s rail-certified SkelMod 51V module in KERS applications, trams can recover up to 30% of electricity. This module is currently trusted by companies such as Škoda Transportation, Medcom, and CAF,” details Ragnarsson.
Railway-News Magazine Issue 1, March 2022: Skeleton Technologies – Supercapacitors in Light Rail – 30% Energy Savings with KERS.
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