[IMAGE]mitrac1.jpg[/IMAGE]Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (RNV) is set to commission the first six new Variobahn type Bombardier trams at its Heidelberg site in Germany. These trams are the first to feature the commercial application of the Bombardier MITRAC Energy Saver, an energy storage system. Thanks to this system, vehicles require up to 30 percent less energy and are capable of catenary-free operation.
"The new system not only allows us to reduce energy costs — we are also the first operator in the world to use this technology in all new vehicles. It is, therefore, no surprise that we were awarded the innovation prize by the federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg for the MITRAC Energy Saver at the beginning of the year," said Martin in der Beek, chief technical officer of Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH. "We will save about 93,000 kWh of electrical energy per vehicle each year. That also benefits our region due to lower emissions when generating electricity at the power station."
The MITRAC Energy Saver, part of the ECO4 portfolio of Bombardier Transportation, utilizes an energy recovery system: three roof-mounted energy storage units use their capacitors to store the energy generated during braking, ready to release it again when accelerating or during operation.
The high-performance double-layer capacitors of the system store up to 3 kWh per vehicle. When starting up and accelerating, vehicles require a particularly large amount of electricity and put a significant burden on the power supply network. This is reduced by about 40 percent with the Energy Saver.
Yet another advantage of the Bombardier energy storage is the catenary-free operation using the stored energy in sections without contact wires. The technology might also be used on two route sections planned at Neuenheimer Feld in Heidelberg, where the electrical fields of the contact wire could possibly interfere with the highly-sensitive measuring instruments of the University's Physical-Technical Institute and the German Cancer Research Centre.
Thirteen more vehicles will be supplied in 2010 for Line 5 and sections in Mannheim. The RNV has ordered a total of 19 light rail vehicles with the new energy storage system. They will enter service by the end of 2010.