Energy Conservation and Management

As rail industry leaders in the design of both vehicles and rail systems, LTK offers innovative and industry-leading capabilities in managing power demand and reducing energy consumption. From the application of lighter composite materials in new vehicle designs to optimization of rail systems to recover maximum regenerative braking energy, LTK’s engineers have the skills to make the “green” rail industry even “greener”.

LTK’s industry-leading software applications can simulate and quantify the benefits of implementing or enhancing rail system regenerative braking. Regenerative braking returns traction energy to the rail network, where, if there is another train drawing power nearby, it can be productively reused. In 60 Hz. AC systems, regenerative braking energy that cannot be productively used by nearby trains can, instead, be returned to the supplying electric utility, effectively running the electric meter backwards during some time periods.

Conserving the greatest possible energy through regenerative braking requires much more than simply deciding to implement the technology. There are a myriad of technological decisions related to regenerative braking implementation and our rail systems engineering and vehicles professionals – supported by our computer simulation tools – have the experience to produce the best results. We work with rail operators to carefully evaluate the maximum overvoltage setting that can be supported by vehicles and wayside equipment, required safety provisions for traction power “dead zones”, normal operation with respect to traction power sectionalization, the application of wayside energy storage devices and many other technology choices. For Automatic Train Operation systems where train departure times can be precisely controlled, our simulation tools can be used to optimize scheduling strategies to minimize peak demands. They can also be used to optimize system receptivity through synchronization of train schedules.

For mainline railroad operations that currently use diesel propulsion (or are considering diesel propulsion for a commuter rail start-up), our vehicle engineers can determine the cost-benefit of electrifying a rail network or a portion of the network. For new lines, LTK vehicle engineers have determined the Return on Invest and payback periods for implementing electric propulsion instead of diesel, reflecting capital, operating and maintenance costs.

LTK’s electrical engineers also support rail operators in designing energy-efficient facilities, including maintenance shops, inspection facilities, passenger stations and other rail-related buildings. We also work with rail operators to implement and upgrade rail operations control centers and traction power Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. In some cases, these systems include energy conservation algorithms that support energy-saving train coasting or intermediate speed “pacing” between stations, as well as minimization of concurrent train starts from the same station.

Our traction power professionals also assist with electric utility tariff negotiation, working to ensure that rate structures provide the opportunity for rail system savings – and associated incentives - through control of both peak demand and overall energy consumption. The benefits of grouping as many supply points as possible under one electric utility demand meter, for example, can be quantified using our traction power simulation software as part of LTK’s support of electric utility tariff negotiation.