Rail

Tech Report: Kinetic energy storage system increases efficient use of rail power

Posted on May 30, 2014 by Alex Roman, Managing Editor

Photo courtesy L.A. Metro
Photo courtesy L.A. Metro
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) recently completed the installation of a kinetic energy storage system at Metro’s Red Line Westlake/MacArthur Park station.

The equipment, provided by Southern California-based flywheel power solution developer, VYCON, is being used in Metro’s Wayside Energy Storage Substation-WESS Project.

The project will demonstrate how VYCON’s green regenerative technology stores energy generated by braking trains and redistributes that energy to rail lines to accelerate  trains  — vastly improving energy usage that otherwise would be wasted in the form of heat.

“When a train comes into a station, much like when a hybrid car is braking, the motors in that train actually become regenerators, so they are actually generating the power, which is braking the train, and that power is being transmitted through this traction power station,” explained Frank DeLattre, president of Vycon. “Normally, if you don’t have anywhere to put that energy, you would have to dissipate it with resistor banks, which burns off the electricity and converts back to heat.”

Peak Power
In addition to energy recycling, VYCON’s REGEN also captures the DC train’s power and uses it to reduce peak power demands in the system and provide voltage support where low voltages are critical during operation. The peak power and voltage support capabilities are at their greatest during rush hours when the utility power demands are at a premium price.

“Typically, utility companies penalize customers who have these types of conditions where they are constantly drawing peak power, so with the flywheels being there it eliminates the need to have the peak power at that particular substation because of the fact it’s coming from the flywheels instead of the utility,” DeLattre said. “Ultimately, what benefits both Metro and the taxpayer is the energy savings to be had with the energy storage.”

The VYCON system stores kinetic energy in the form of a rotating mass and is designed for high power, short discharge applications. Patented technology used within this system includes a high-speed motor/generator, contact-free magnetic bearings used to levitate and sustain the rotor during operation, and a control system that provides system information and performance. These technologies enable the VYCON system to charge and discharge at high rates for hundreds of thousands of cycles, making it an ideal energy storage solution for electric rail applications.

VYCON completed installation of its kinetic energy storage system on a portion of L.A. Metro’s Red Line in March and is set to be finished fine-tuning the control system on the flywheels to maximize the energy storage levels by May.
VYCON completed installation of its kinetic energy storage system on a portion of L.A. Metro’s Red Line in March and is set to be finished fine-tuning the control system on the flywheels to maximize the energy storage levels by May.
Collaboration
Metro began collaborating with VYCON on the project several years ago, with the two presenting a paper on the amount of energy that could be saved through the installation of an energy storage system at 2008’s APTA EXPO. Further down the road, the company performed a cost-versus-benefits analysis of five different Los Angeles stations, before eventually being awarded a $3.6 million contract in November 2012, for the supply of the main core equipment and the commissioning of the entire system.

The project was funded by a $4.4 million FTA grant under the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program.

The company completed installation of its solution in March. As of May, VYCON was still fine-tuning the control system on the flywheels to maximize the energy storage levels, explained DeLattre. The system is expected to store 6 megawatts of power.

He added that since the Metro installation was a first-of-its-kind project, there was quite a bit of non-reoccurring engineering to develop the solution and controls, which, having now been completed, will result in the solution being more economically feasible for next installation or expansion of the solution.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Amtrak officials say Penn Station repairs ahead of schedule

COO Scot Naparstek “absolutely” expects full service to be returned by the day after Labor Day, adding that commuters should expect an on-time service of more than 90%.

Calif.'s SMART commuter rail gets Federal green light to launch

Train service will be free of charge on opening day, with the agency holding a community grant opening event. After opening day, SMART fares for everyone will be 50% off regular price through Labor Day, with regular fares set to be in place Sept. 5.

STV, Mott MacDonald JV lands Sound Transit light rail extension contracts

The team will perform systems construction management services for the $3.7 billion East Link Extension, a 14-mile-long extension, and the $1.9 billion 4.3-mile Northgate Link Extension between the University of Washington at Husky Stadium, the University District, and the Northgate neighborhood.

AllEarth takes delivery of Budd railcars for Vermont commuter service

The cars, build in the 1950s, were purchased from Dallas Area Rapid Transit, where they were in operation between 1996 and 2012.

Honolulu lawmakers discuss funding options to complete light rail project

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has a September 15 deadline to submit its financial plan to the Federal Transit Administration.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close