In Brief

Currently under trial in Germany, regenerative brakes could reduce locomotive emissions while increasing efficiency.

Slowing down and stopping motorized vehicles requires the conversion of kinetic energy, movement, into another form of energy. The energy is usually converted to heat resulting from friction, i.e. from the brake pads on your car. Essentially, the energy is wasted.

Not anymore.

MTU, a division of the engine, propulsion, and power systems company Tognum Group, has recently developed a braking system capable of harnessing and reusing the energy expended by trains when braking. This would allow the excess kinetic energy, which is usually wasted, to be converted and stored by the train for future use in starting or slowing the train’s motion.

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