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Battery electric traction

Discussion in 'Diesel & Electric Traction' started by burnham-t, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget the Prussian State Railways battery railcars, introduced from 1907 onwards.....
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wittfeld-Akkumulatortriebwagen
    There is one of those preserved in Poland.
     
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  2. DcB

    DcB Member

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    Part of the problem is the lead acid batteries used in the past are heavy, not very efficient and have a maximum of about 10 years constant use, but modern lead acid batteries are able to be recycled.
    I notice there is an update on lithium batteries which are now becoming more cost effective.
    https://www.reuters.com/brandfeatur...ering-smart-cities-with-lithium-ion-batteries
    But there is problems with lithium mining and the batteries still have a limited life after which the charge is not held.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2021
  3. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Lithium mining presents no unique issues, when compared with any other commercial mineral abstraction. That's not to say it shouldn't be conducted in the most responsible manner and it rather amuses me to see how environmentally concerned the media proxies of the oil industry have become all of a sudden. Nor is lithium the only viable battery architecture, merely being the current market leader for traction tech.

    As to the useful life of lithium cells, it needs to be realised that in traction terms, the generally accepted figure equates to 80% of initial capacity. At that point, a cell is (currently) considered degraded, with regard to it's first life application, but unlike hydrocarbon energy sources, retains a substantial residual value above it's scrap value, being suitable for selling on for re-use in (so far as power density by volume or weight is concerned) less demanding applications, before final recycling.

    Currently, even within the clean tech industry, the whole-life cycle of lithium batteries is an unfamiliar emerging market, so exact numbers aren't much more than 'best estimates' (this significant new market represents an entire field of expertise in it's own right), but is already well past the realms of the purely theoretical, thus there's no valid comparison to be made with life-expired lead-acid tech.

    I follow as much of the clean tech as possible with keen interest and freely admit I can't keep up with the sheer breadth and pace of developments. Exciting times.
     
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  4. D1039

    D1039 Part of the furniture

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    Interestingly the Clayton class 18 hybrid will use lead acid batteries. I read that longer life/ more charges is one consideration (and weight and low speed not being such issues with a shunter).

    Patrick


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. bluetrain

    bluetrain Member

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    Thanks for drawing attention to these vehicles.

    Bundesbahn built a substantial number of battery electric railcars in the 1950s, but it seems they were not without their problems. They were generally kept to flattish routes, because high current consumption limited the range on steep gradients. In later years, frames tended to sag in the middle due to the weight of the heavy lead-acid batteries.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DB_Class_ETA_150
     
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  6. William Shelford

    William Shelford Member

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    Weight is important for shunters. You need plenty of it.
     
  7. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I'd be curious to see the considerations which informed thinking in this case and what, if any, alternatives were investigated.
     
  8. DcB

    DcB Member

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    https://eandt.theiet.org/content/ar...diesel-hybrid-train-enters-passenger-service/
    Porterbrook and Rolls Royce has added a powerful battery to a 20-year-old Turbostar diesel multiple unit for the Chiltern line.
    "Warren East, chief executive of Rolls-Royce, which produced the battery, described the project as “groundbreaking”. He said: “In this critical decade of climate action, today’s entry into service of the HybridFLEX train shows what we can achieve through technological innovation and agile collaboration. “This smart piece of engineering enables the acceleration of the UK Government’s ambition to remove all diesel-only trains from the network by 2040, making rail journeys quieter, cleaner and faster.”

    Does not say which type of battery is used?
     
  9. Cartman

    Cartman Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't there a thing called the Drumm battery train tried out in Ireland years ago?

    how did that perform?
     
  10. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    After much searching (most articles were no more detailed than the one on the Porterbrook trains), the answer is Lithium-ion ..... the same as currently used in nearly all EVs.

    https://im-mining.com/2021/08/03/ro...echnology-deliver-hybrid-drive-mining-trucks/

    Hybrid tech has it's critics and for cars, the spread of the public charging network gives increasing justification for such criticism, but with an expected lifespan of 30-40 years, my own views is that, as an interim measure, extending applications to retrofitting existing (and very expensive, let's not forget) non-life expired stock is a perfectly logical step. My own experience (admittedly with cars, not rail vehicles) is that the tech is reliable and seamless in operation.

    Such 'mid-life' retrofits dovetail remarkably well with the indicated (first life) longevity of current battery tech. This additionally provides the much needed breathing space needed for rail, a major economic sector, to formulate designs suitable to take the industry into the medium too longer term future. It should be kept in mind that, even once degraded beyond use in vehicle propulsion, the battery packs retain substantial residual value. Once it's done it's job in an engine, show me so much as a single gallon of recycled diesel.

    My own experience of (already near functionally obsolete) hybrid car tech is that, whilst it undoubtedly adds to complexity in cars, this objection doesn't carry the same weight when considering diesel-electric rail applications. The inherent regenerative function provides very significant additional fuel economy. This is immediately obvious when circumstances dictate even a short term return to a "straight ICE" vehicle, in terms of both fuel consumption and braking.

    Overall, this is an eminently sensible means of reducing emissions, whilst ensuring stock remains operable for the duration of it's economic life.
     
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