london-tube-brakes

Now London Tube Train’s Brakes Will Power Up Its Stations

london-tube-brakesShort Bytes: London Tube has implemented a technology that can convert the energy released while applying brakes, directly to electricity and feed it back to the power grid.

London Tube (LU) has the title of the world’s first metro service, began its operations on January 10, 1863. And from that day, it has been the most talked about metro service in the world, though, not the most advanced. But continuing its legacy of being in the news all the time, London Tube has adopted a new technology that can convert the energy released while applying brakes, directly into electricity. This electricity is then used to power-up Tube’s stations.

The technology they’ve used is called ‘Inverter System’. What this Inverter System does is, it absorbs the energy released when the brakes are applied and transforms it into electricity, which is then fed up to the power grid. This electricity is then used to power-up underground stations, thus reducing the electricity costs.

The initial five-week trial was conducted at the Victoria Line, which is one of the busiest lines of London Tube, has an annual ridership of around 1.2 Billion passengers. Though the trail was meant for five weeks, but the electricity generated in the first week was enough to power Holborn Station for complete 2 days/week.

In the current scenario, this technology is capable of saving 5% on annual electricity bill for London Tube which equates to £6m, can be used for improving Tube services. In a press statement, Mathew Pencharz, Deputy Mayor of Environment and Energy, said:

“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.”

Another paramount benefit this technology provides is, it shrinks down the need of cooling systems required to remove the heat generated when the brakes are applied, as the energy released is converted to electricity instead of heat, which increases the temperature of the Tube tunnel.

As per the initial trial, about 1 MWh of electricity can be harnessed per day which is capable enough to power 104 homes for almost a year.Screen_shot_2015-07-28_at_4.39.24_PM

Pencharz added:

“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, LU’s Head of Power and Cooling, also expressed his views in his press statement:

“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.”

The local government has also contributed all the needed support for the technology to be fully implemented all over the Tube network. They are planning to upgrade the Greenwich Power Station situated in southeast London, to a low-carbon power generator for the Tube network. The existing boilers will be replaced with new gas engines, which will facilitate environment-friendly energy for the Tube network.

The initiative taken by London Tube for upgrading their network to become completely eco-friendly is truly commendable. Technologies like these can prove to be of great benefit in tackling future hazards, that may arise due to pollution based power sources we use today. Other Metro systems should also implement these kind of technologies, as it will reduce their operation costs which will eventually benefit the commuters and the environment.

Have something to add? Tell us in the comments below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top