Recycled energy from Tube train brakes to power Underground stations

25 September 2015  •  Author(s): Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, Eurotransport

A trial designed to collect waste energy from Tube train brakes has successfully captured enough power to run a London Underground station.

Recycled energy from Tube train brakes to power Underground stations

Over a five-week trial, London Underground installed an ‘inverter’ system at the Cloudesley Road substation on the Victoria line to capture energy in order to power Holborn Underground station. The new technology recovered enough power run the station for more than two days per week.

Results of the trial suggest London Underground could reduce the systems overall carbon footprint and cut its energy bill by 5 percent saving up to £6 million every year.

Recycled energy from Tube brakes could save up to £6 million per year

As well as saving energy, the technology has the added benefit of lessening the amount of heat generated by trains braking in tunnels, which in turn would reduce the energy required to operate Underground cooling systems.

The results indicated that 1 Megawatt hour (MWh) of energy can be captured per day which is equivalent to powering up to 104 homes per year.

Matthew Pencharz, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, said: “The results of this project are really exciting and show huge potential for harnessing some of the immense energy in our Tube trains. The trial puts London at the cutting edge of this kind of technology and clearly demonstrates how energy from trains can be recovered to power Tube stations, making the network more environmentally friendly and cost effective. This complements our wider work to make other forms of public transport cleaner and greener, including our buses, where we have introduced hybrid and zero-emission technology.”

Chris Tong, London Underground’s Head of Power and Cooling, said: “This state-of-the-art regenerative braking system has the potential to transform how we power stations across the TfL network, unlocking massive power savings and significantly reducing our energy bills. We are committed to doing more to reduce our energy use, and this technology – a world first for metro railways – is one of a number of innovations we’re embracing to lower our environmental impact.”

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