Today, Winfried Hermann, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of Germany’s federal state of Baden-Württemberg, paid a visit to Rolls-Royce Power Systems in Friedrichshafen, where he was keen to learn about eco-friendly drive concepts for rail transport. MTU's Hybrid Powerpack was one of the technologies shown to him by company CEO Ulrich Dohle. Hybrid Powerpacks consume up to 25% less fuel than conventional state-of-the-art diesel drive systems, and are also much quieter to run and emit significantly less CO2. MTU is part of Rolls-Royce Power Systems within the Land & Sea division of Rolls-Royce.
“Our Hybrid Powerpack is a forward-looking technology that allows our customers to operate ecologically and save money at the same time,” said Dohle. In this drive system, a conventional diesel engine is supported by an electric motor/generator. Recovering the braking energy results in highly cost-effective and ecologically sound operation, particularly in stop-and-go situations on local public transport lines where there are a large number of stops. The electric motor also makes for exceptionally quiet operation when the train is in standstill mode in stations, or is passing through residential areas.
In the last five years, MTU has played a pioneering role in the development of hybrid technology for rail applications. At the beginning of the year, it carried out its own 6-week trial of the Hybrid Powerpack on the Staudenbahn railway line near Augsburg. The hybrid railcar completed its 2,300-km test run without hitches and achieved a fuel saving of over 18% compared to the conventional state-of-the-art diesel drive system. This result was even obtained on a stretch of track whose profile was not really ideal for proving the value of regenerative braking. Furthermore, the sound level of the train in motion could be lowered by a whole five decibels, while in standstill mode – for example in stations – it was up to 20 decibels quieter because the diesel engine could be switched off and the auxiliary consumers supplied with energy from the batteries.
“Our Hybrid Powerpack is now ready for the market,” announced Peter Riegger, Senior Manager Research and Technology, Systems, at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “Rolling stock manufacturers are showing considerable interest in this new technology. The next step for us is to establish our product on the rail market,” he said.