Electric Storage System to Enhance Rail Operations – Giuseppe Luzzio

Giuseppe Luzzio: “The introduction of energy storage systems will reduce the intervals between trains and increase the capacity of sections”

The energy sales company ,Rusenergosbyt conducts tests of a new promising technology in the research centers of Russian Railways – the electric storage system. Gudok talked about the technical and economic potential of these solutions for railways with Giuseppe Luzzio, First Deputy General Director of Rusenergosbyt LLC.

– Senor Luzzio, the development of energy storage systems is one of the most relevant areas in the energy sector. Is it possible to expect pioneers to gain an advantage over competitors?  

Luzzio- Theoretically, the new technology that Enel X is developing has a potential for application in the transport sector. Now we have to test this in practice. The results of preliminary studies indicate that Rusenergosbyt and Enel X, a subsidiary of Enel, which is working with, are on the right track.

– What studies have already taken place, and what are their results? 

– The idea of ​​using energy storage systems in the business of Rusenergosbyt appeared about a year ago. We conducted research and analyzed the information. Theoretical data, of course, need to be confirmed before something is offered to customers. We want to be sure that we have a reliable working solution for our customers. It is for this purpose that Rusenergosbyt entered into an agreement with the Scientific Research Institute of Railway Transport (VNIIZhT), which is a subsidiary of the Russian Railways holding. The capabilities of VNIIZHT allow for the examination of the technology of energy storage systems at a completely new professional level. 
Railway specialists are assessing the potential benefits of introducing technology into the existing energy supply system of Russian Railways. The agreement consists of two parts. The first part is aimed at assessing the expected results of the functioning of the system. The theoretical analysis has already been completed and potential areas of application of this technology have been identified. VNIIZhT confirmed the results of our research. It was found that the use of energy storage systems is possible in three cases. 

First, it is advisable to install power storage devices in long sections in order to maintain the required voltage level. The longer the railway section, the greater the voltage drops as you move away from the substation. Electric storage devices installed in special places will make it possible to level these losses.

The second case is when the line has a power limit. The introduction of new technology will reduce the intervals between trains and increase the throughput of sections, because trains will be able to accelerate faster due to the greater available amount of energy.).

The third option involves use in emergency situations. For example, in the case of a train evacuation due to a voltage drop. Using electricity from the storage system will allow the train to be taken out of the tunnel to evacuate passengers.

The second part of the agreement with VNIIZhT involves physical tests on the experimental railway ring of the institute in Shcherbinka. Over the next weeks, we will determine equipment test parameters. You also need to determine the parameters of the storage system itself. We want to reproduce the load changes that occur when the train moves. We are working on this part of the trials with our colleagues from Enel X, a division of Enel Global that develops innovative products and digital solutions. In Italy, the company is actively applying its experience in the field of innovative energy storage systems and will be able to provide us with a prototype that meets the test parameters. The choice fell on them by chance, because it is Enel’s devices that will optimally supply voltage to the network. Tests will be conducted within 4-5 months. In particular, the ability to work in various temperature conditions will be checked. We started these tests to see where and how to use our idea, but perhaps as a result of testing we will open new solutions. 

– After testing, the introduction will begin? 

– First, we should focus on price aspects, taking into account the exchange rate. Then the implementation phase will begin, but you can’t just plug this device into a power outlet. The system must be connected to the railway control system. It must be remotely controlled.  
– What region are you considering for implementation? 

– It is too early to talk about this. We want to understand in which regions high-performance drives are needed, and in which there is no such need. We must also determine where what costs are justified. If we flexibly change the characteristics, then we will have a wider choice of where these batteries can be purchased and where to use them. As soon as there is information for analysis, we will be able to assess the potential market. 

In any case, if a company has problems with electricity, it will first analyze how consumption can be changed. If this cannot be done, such as, for example, it is impossible to change the train schedule, specialists will consider the possibility of using batteries. Economic aspects change from case to case, and an individual approach is needed here. 

– On the Russian Railways network, various railway electrification systems are used. Does this affect the ability to use energy storage systems? 

– Initially, the electric power storage system was developed for the networks of JSC Russian Railways of direct current with a voltage of 3 kV. There are also solutions for AC Russian Railways networks. It is clear that the system will require additional components (inverters, transformers, etc.), which will affect the price and control mechanism, but this system can be implemented. 

– Is the possibility of using drives at stationary facilities of Russian Railways, for example, in a depot, in warehouses being considered? 

– Theoretically, this is possible. For example, such devices can be useful in server rooms where you need to maintain a constant temperature. But for such tasks, smaller drives are needed. When it comes to freight trains, much more power, 9-12 MW, is required to start a train. 

– In addition to Russian Railways, innovations are also being introduced by other railway companies, while Enel, which is a co-owner of Rusenergosbyt, is already installing energy storage systems in industry and commerce in Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom and other countries. 

Why does the application of energy storage systems in the transport industry start with a partnership with Russian Railways? 

– It’s simple. Rusenergosbyt has a long history of commercial relations with Russian Railways. Russian Railways, as a highly efficient company, has a great need for innovative technologies. Russian Railways and Enel strive to improve current performance, reduce emissions and use smart technologies. As we see, all parties are ready for the application of advanced technologies and cooperation: “Energy Storage (Energy Storage) – equipment that allows you to accumulate electrical energy during its excess and return to the network at the time of shortage. 

Energy storage systems can be used to the creation of portable energy carriers (for example, for remote areas, electric vehicles, backup batteries), to smooth out the negative effect of peak loads on energy consumption systems (for example, in enterprises, buildings, and residential premises). 

There are several types of drives: chemical (lithium-ion, etc.); thermal (molten salt, CSP [concentrated solar power] – stations that accumulate thermal energy of the sun); mechanical (PSP, air-storage plants). The main development received chemical storage. Among illustrative examples of drives on an industrial scale is the Enel complex, built in Italy. This is a 2 MW electric power storage device. Its reserve is enough to provide 50 urban multi-storey buildings with electricity for 2 hours. 

On the railway, energy storage devices are used in the United States. During braking, they accumulate energy in the batteries, and then, if necessary, discharge them into the network, aligning the frequency. 

Large drives are capable of storing electricity at cheap night hours, and spending at peak hours. This reduces the cost of power and expensive peak electricity. (Gudok.ru)

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