How Can Trains Use Energy More Efficiently to Keep the City Running?

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19th July, 2019

Did you know that a motor that propels a railway vehicle can be used to generate power when the railway vehicle is in the process of slowing down or stopping? And that this power can be transformed and used elsewhere as electricity? Pretty cool. Mitsubishi Electric has developed advanced equipment that allows this power—called "regenerative power"—created when a train is slowing down or stopping to be used not only by other trains when they accelerate, but in station buildings as well.

Enhancing the Railway Transportation Environment in Support of the Global Environment

As concern over the direction of the global environment grows rapidly each day, it is becoming increasingly important to accelerate the evolution of infrastructure that does not bear a significant environmental footprint. Railway systems, a highly efficient mode of transport and common the world over, are a prime example. We at Mitsubishi Electric have, since our founding in 1921, been actively involved in transportation infrastructure, and our numerous achievements over the past century have brought about tremendous advances in safety, efficiency, comfort, and energy use.

One way to improve the energy efficiency of a system is to capitalize on the design of the system itself and maximize the resources within. We have done just that with our Advanced Power Technology for Trains—by effectively harnessing and sharing energy generated by trains, we have succeeded in greatly reducing the massive energy requirements of modern-day railway systems.

Regenerating Energy to Make Transport More Efficient

A key component of our Advanced Power Technology for Trains is our proprietary regenerative braking system. When a train is slowing down or coming to a stop, its motor begins operating in reverse, generating kinetic energy. Thanks to our traction inverter, this kinetic energy can be harnessed by transforming it into electrical energy. This is then sent through the overhead lines and can be used not only by other trains in the network when they need to speed up, but in the station building as well.

Power that in the past had simply been discharged as heat energy without being used can now be effectively reused, making railway system operation significantly more environmentally friendly and energy efficient.

Sustaining our Efforts to Make Railway Systems Better

To make the fullest possible use of the newly harnessed electrical power, we developed the Station Energy Saving Inverter, or S-EIV, which features compact, lightweight, and weather-resistant construction that makes installation possible just about anywhere. S-EIV takes the regenerative power not used by other trains and channels it to electrical equipment located in station buildings, providing power essential for lighting, air conditioning, escalators, and more. And our optimal power supply control system ascertains the operational status of rail cars in real time using information and communications technology (ICT). In tandem with a management system, the technology effectively minimizes energy usage both in trains and stations.

Environmentally friendly, energy-efficient transport will only continue to grow in importance. And there’s no one better suited than Mitsubishi Electric—with our rich history and expansive portfolio of transportation-related products, systems, and technologies—to take the lead in driving the evolution of systems that will transport us to the sustainable society we all envision.

The content is true and accurate as of the time of publication.Information related to products and services included in this article may differ by country or region.

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