Capturing and using braking energy from trains or other vehicles isn’t new, but it still isn’t in wide use. So, when I saw that they were going to start capturing and using the braking energy from trains in Warsaw, Poland (the country I now live in) to help power other, accelerating trains, I figured it was as good a time as any to revisit this cool idea.
The term is regenerative braking. We’ve written about the use of regenerative braking in Philadelphia subway trains, garbage trucks, buses, electric vehicles, and probably more. It’s a common-sense source of energy. Rather than letting it go to waste, why not capture and reuse it?
Gavin Hudson of ABB (and formerly an editor on our network) writes that the energy that will be recovered from a single, decelerating Polish metro car is enough to power a 60-watt light bulb for more than a week. However, as mentioned above, this energy will be used to give accelerating trains a boost. The key technologies used in this project will be supplied by ABB. They include substations and an energy storage system that is based on double-layer super-capacitors.
More from Gavin:
“While a more detailed explanation is available, the gist of the technology is this: Regenerative braking charges the super-capacitor bank located in one of the seven traction substations as the train decelerates. The stored energy can then be re-injected into the line and will be picked up by an accelerating train.”
This project is supposed to be completed by the end of 2013.
Warsaw metro & train via foTOmo