The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is testing out energy-saving technology on its train lines.
Given the amount of power expended for physical operations like braking, there’s a lot to be gained by capturing this wasted energy and converting it back into electricity for further use within closed system. This is the basic premise behind regenerative braking, a technology already being utilized by electric and hybrid vehicles. Now thanks to a pilot project being launched by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), this same thinking is being applied on a much larger scale.
Unlike individual vehicles, which have to carry the weight of an additional onboard battery to store the salvaged energy, the train system will instead install a large battery at one of its substations to collect and distribute the overflow. This energy will be used to help the trains accelerate, cutting back on the total consumption of the transportation authority, while providing the added benefit of being able to sell the surplus back to the grid. All told, the yearly savings from this single rollout is estimated at nearly $500,000 with the potential to employ the technology throughout the system’s other 37 substations.