[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Elon Musk unveils Hyperloop preliminary design study
August 12, 2013
|Linear accelerator concept for capsule acceleration and deceleration between 300 and 760 mph (480 and 1,220 km/h). Click to enlarge.|
Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk released the preliminary design study for what he calls “The Hyperloop”—a new high-speed electric transportation system targeted for the the specific case of high-traffic city pairs (e.g., San Francisco and Los Angeles) that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart. (For longer distances, Musk suggests, quiet supersonic air travel would be faster and cheaper.)
Hyperloop—which is an open-source concept, user feedback is welcome—consists of paired partially-evacuated tubes (0.015 psi, 100 Pa), with passenger capsules (or pods) that are transported at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube. The capsules are supported on a cushion of air, featuring pressurized air and aerodynamic lift. The capsules are accelerated via a magnetic linear accelerator affixed at various stations on the low pressure tube. Stators are located on the capsules to transfer momentum to the capsules via the linear accelerators.
IHS-CERA concludes “no material impact” on US GHG from Keystone XL; heavy crude from Venezuela most likely replacement
August 09, 2013
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline for transporting oilsands-derived crude to Gulf Coast refineries would have “no material impact” on US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to a new Insight report by IHS CERA. In a June speech at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama said that the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would only be built if the project “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” (Earlier post.)
In the absence of the pipeline, alternate transportation routes would result in oilsands production growth being more or less unchanged, IHS CERA found. The study also found that any absence of oil sands on the US Gulf Coast would most likely be replaced by imports of heavy crude oil from Venezuela, which has the same carbon footprint as oilsands crude.
DynoTRAIN could establish virtual testing as a valid route to rail vehicle certification
August 08, 2013
|Multi-body simulation of bogies which could be used for virtual certification. Source: TrioTRAIN. Click to enlarge.|
A four-year, €5.5-million (US$7.3-million) project that could enable manufacturers of rail vehicles to use virtual testing of trains in order to ensure safety standards throughout Europe while making huge savings on development costs is drawing to a close at the end of next month.
DynoTRAIN received €3.3 million in funding from the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme. It is part of the TrioTRAIN cluster of projects which aims at further promoting interoperability by increasing virtual certification, thus contributing to the competitiveness of rail. Through the DynoTRAIN project, TrioTRAIN addresses rail vehicle dynamics—one of the most relevant issues for a rail vehicle certification.
Westport launches LNG tender product for locomotives; Canadian National Railway orders four
June 05, 2013
|Earlier CN testing of LNG using a tank-car (non-Westport)-based tender with two converted test locomotives. Click to enlarge.|
Westport Innovations Inc. launched a liquefied natural gas (LNG) locomotive tender product solution with an order for four tenders from Canadian National Railway (CN); CN is currently testing two Electro-Motive Diesel locomotives converted for operation on natural gas. (Earlier post.) The first tender to supply fuel to an adjacent natural-gas powered locomotive will be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Westport is collaborating with INOXCVA, a leading manufacturer of cryogenic transportation equipment, on these tenders. Westport and INOXCVA have entered into an agreement for cryogenic systems to be able to rapidly meet the near-term demand in the rail industry.
Siemens installing Sitras supercap-based stationary energy storage unit for TriMet light right substation
June 03, 2013
|Sitras SES. Click to enlarge.|
Siemens is currently installing the first Sitras SES (stationary energy storage) Energy Storage Unit with supercapacitor technology in the US on the new TriMet Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Line. The southeast Portland Tacoma substation location will house the first US storage unit that allows for energy created during braking to be stored and then re-used in one of two applications: energy savings or voltage stabilization during peak demand times. TriMet will utilize the system in voltage stabilization mode.
In voltage stabilization mode, the Sitras SES allows the system to avoid problems that have led to disruptions in mass transit operations. If a number of vehicles accelerate simultaneously, system voltage can drop below a critical level and result in instances of undervoltage tripping in vehicles and, consequently, lead to disruptions in passenger service. The Sitras SES ensures the system voltage always remains within the required range and voltage-related disruptions no longer occur.
Maxwell supplying ultracapacitors for light rail braking energy recuperation system; 2.8% energy savings
April 23, 2013
|Clockwise from upper left: ESS enclosure, power control unit and ultracapacitor modules. Source: TIGGER, Tri-Met. Click to enlarge.|
Maxwell Technologies, Inc. is supplying ultracapacitors for an energy-saving braking energy recuperation system that American Maglev Technology (AMT), is installing on light rail vehicles operated by the Portland, Oregon area’s Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District (TriMet).
The ultracapacitor-based Energy Storage System (ESS) is an embedded system that captures, stores and discharges 0.7 kWh of energy for use in commercial transit applications. The ESS consists of the ultracapacitors and the required conditioning choppers and auxiliary devices to recapture and store a transit vehicle’s kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost during braking to be re-used for future departures or for the vehicle’s auxiliary power.
Directly comparable fuel consumption tests on two locomotives finds GE Class 70 PowerHaul could save 18% of fuel compared with Class 66 in UK fleet
January 22, 2013
|GE Transportation Class 70 PowerHaul locomotive. Click to enlarge.|
Recent testing commissioned by GE Transportation and overseen by Ricardo found that GE’s Class 70 PowerHaul diesel-electric freight locomotive would save 18% of fuel in comparison with the Class 66 currently representing the majority of the UK’s locomotive fleet. The Class 66 is used for 87% of rail freight movements in the UK.
In addition, further significant fuel savings could be made by the Class 70 locomotive when closing down the engine during extended idling using the automatic engine stop/start (AESS) system and Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), or by using power from the dynamic brake being used for driving auxiliary loads.
Williams Hybrid Power and Alstom cooperate to develop flywheel energy storage technology for Citadis trams
January 17, 2013
|Williams flywheel unit. Click to enlarge.|
Williams Hybrid Power, a division of the Williams group of companies that includes the Williams F1 Team, and Alstom Transport have signed an exclusive agreement that will see Williams Hybrid Power’s composite flywheel energy storage technology (earlier post) applied to Alstom’s Citadis trams by 2014.
After several years of research into energy storage, Alstom teamed up with Williams Hybrid Power to trial its composite MLC (magnetically loaded composite) flywheel energy storage technology which offers potential fuel savings of 15% when installed in public transport applications.
Union Pacific Railroad investing $20M to test emissions-reducing locomotive technology in California; moving toward Tier 4 compliance with combination of EGR, DOC and DPF
August 14, 2012
Union Pacific Railroad is investing $20 million to test new technology designed to reduce diesel emissions from freight locomotives in California. A series of 25 experimental locomotives will be based in two Union Pacific rail yards in California as part of a test of emissions-reducing technologies.
One locomotive in this series of 25 will be based in Roseville to test the combined use of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), and diesel particulate filtering (DPF). In testing the combined benefits of these three technologies on one freight locomotive, this Union Pacific unit is the closest an Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) locomotive has come to achieving US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 locomotive standards.