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Converting Railcars to Hybrid Technology

The Professorship of Management Accounting and Controlling at the TU Chemnitz is a project partner and assesses the EcoTrain’s sustainability

In two years, the "Erzgebirgsbahn" in Chemnitz plans to introduce the first series-produced hybrid railcars to the transportation routes connecting the Ore Mountain region. The “EcoTrain” project’s goals include the new and ongoing development of eco-friendly hybrid technologies for rail transit. Using innovative drive-, control- and auxiliary technologies and appropriate energy management, the project hopes make a significant contribution to the operation of resource-conserving and low-emission diesel powered railcars. The "Erzgebirgsbahn" in Chemnitz is currently in the process of converting a conventional railcar of the VT 642 series to the new drive system and preparing for field testing in the Ore Mountain network by the fall of 2016. Along with a diesel motor, the new hybrid train will also use a lithium-ion battery which will be partially recharged when the vehicle brakes. Additional electricity will be supplied via overhead cables through current collectors located on the roof of the railcar. Operators hope to reduce future diesel consumption by up to one third. In addition, these new hybrid railcars should be much quieter than conventional systems as they will operate using electric power during train station arrivals and departures.

The “EcoTrain” project is a collaborative effort within the scope of the national “Förderprogramm Modellregionen Elektromobilität” pilot project with the participation of the DB RegioNetz Verkehrs GmbH, the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems, the Technische Universität Dresden and the Technische Universität Chemnitz. Prof. Dr. Uwe Götze, Head of the Professorship of Management Accounting and Control, explains the tasks facing researchers in Chemnitz: “With the analyses we conduct throughout the development process, we hope to contribute to the accomplishment of the economic and ecological target goals we have set. By analyzing design alternatives according to their potential to meet our targets, we will derive recommendations for action and eventually evaluate the entire EcoTrain system according to its contribution to improving sustainability.” The methods developed for this process can also be applied to other system design tasks.

EcoTrain receives approximately five million euros in funding from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure through the nationwide “Elektromobilität in Modellregionen” program. The economic prospects of this project include the conversion of 600 vehicles currently in operation across the EU with a value creation potential of 60 percent in Saxony alone.

More information about the TU Chemnitz’s involvement is available from Prof. Dr. Uwe Götze, Telephone 0049 371 531-38553, E-Mail uwe.goetze@wirtschaft.tu-chemnitz.de, as well as from Lilly Meynerts, Telephone 0049 371 531-37854, E-Mail lilly.meynerts@wirtschaft.tu-chemnitz.de.

An overview can be found here: https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/wirtschaft/bwl3/English/2_ecotrain.php

(Translation: Sarah Wilson)

Mario Steinebach

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