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Optimal intermittent electrification and its effect on battery sizing and energy saving using a high-fidelity train model

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-03-09, 13:29 authored by Bilal M Abduraxman, Tim HarrisonTim Harrison, Christopher Ward, William Midgley
The fastest way to decarbonise traction energy of a railway network is full electrification of the network. However, full electrification can be costly and is often delayed due to complicated planning procedures. Often, it is not financially viable to electrify certain sections of the network due to geographical challenges such as hillsides and requirements to raise or lower the tracks. Intermittent electrification can provide a way to reduce emissions on a route without fully electrifying it. This paper presents an optimal intermittent electrification strategy and compares its effects on required battery size to a ‘common-sense’ approach. The “common-sense” approach is a heuristic electrification method where high-power sections of the route are electrified first. Energy savings are demonstrated using a validated high-fidelity bi-mode train model on the Newbury-Plymouth route of Great Western Railway in the UK. Unlike prior research, the optimal electrification strategy considers energy consumptions for both directions of a journey on the route and is therefore optimal regardless of travel direction. The 278-km Newbury-Plymouth route was divided into 50 equal discrete sections for the optimization process, which then identified sections that should be prioritised for electrification as they consume the maximum energy. A high charge/discharge lithium titanite-oxide battery was modelled and installed on the virtual vehicle to determine the required battery sizing for given optimal percentages of intermittent electrification. The battery sizing strategy includes battery wear effects from charge/discharge cycle life and shows the battery life to be 1.42 years if kept at 55°C and 6 years if kept at 25°C. At 36% electrification, using the ‘common-sense’ approach, the battery weighs 10,500 kg and the battery-OLE train reduces the CO2 emissions and energy usage on the route by 83% when compared to the diesel-only train.


Decarbonising Transport through Electrification, a Whole System Approach (DTE)

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit




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© IMechE

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This is an Open Access article. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

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Dr Christopher Ward. Deposit date: 7 March 2023