Energy optimization in trains and the rail system
Ceit-IK4 researchers are working on a project that will optimize electricity consumption throughout the entire rail system. To that end, they are developing a tool that will minimize energy consumption in the system by, for example, advising train drivers on the most efficient type of driving or helping operators choose the most appropriate electricity supply contract for their needs. Meeting these kinds of challenges will advance energy optimization in the rail sector, as has occurred in other sectors, and result in savings in consumption.
The Opticon project, in which Ceit-IK4 is collaborating with rail construction company Vias and the government agency Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya, will offer a model that is adapted to the different elements that make up the railway system: power delivery, energy consumed by the drive system and energy from regenerative braking. To achieve this, researchers are working on a software tool that has a global model of the rail network, allowing operators to run simulations and optimize energy consumption for different aspects of rail operation. This capability can lead to greater energy efficiency and a reduction in the costs associated with railway operation.
Pablo Ciaurriz, the Ceit researcher in charge of the Opticon project, highlights the qualitative leap that this innovation in energy efficiency will bring to the railway sector, which is characterized by high energy consumption; in some cases it can represent 15% of a company's total costs. All this becomes even more important when the environmental factor is added, as there is a growing need to reduce emissions and the energy needs of transport. Making railroads more energy efficient will make them a more ecological and competitive means of transport.