Monday, September 13, 2010

Putting the brakes delivers energy savings for US rail transport

A US smart grid company and a state transportation authority are joining forces on a pilot project to capture and store energy from regenerative braking on one of the country’s oldest rail lines.

The joint project between Philadelphia-based Viridity Energy and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) received a $900,000 grant from the State of Pennsylvania at the beginning of the month.

The two organisations plan to install a large-scale battery to capture energy from the regenerative braking of trains along a portion of the Market-Frankford Line.

Viridity Energy’s smart grid software will allow the energy to be recycled, saving SEPTA energy costs, improving power quality and generating revenue through sale of excess power to the grid.

SEPTA estimates that using the recovered energy that would otherwise be wasted will reduce its carbon emissions by over 1250 tons a year.

“The storage system will serve as a foundation for measurable gains in both energy efficiency and voltage stability, providing a replicable and scalable model for broader system-wide implementation,” says SEPTA’s general manager Joseph M. Casey.

If the pilot is successful, the partners say the technology could be deployed across all SEPTA’s operations.

“This project is a perfect example of how smart grid innovations and advances in technology can effectively be paired… to yield substantial economic, operational and environmental benefits to all the parties involved,” says Viridity Energy’s president and CEO, Audrey Zibelman.

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