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GO Transit Electrification (Metrolinx, Proposed)

kEiThZ

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@mdrejhon

It works in theory. But my understanding has always been that the major limitation of BEMUs isn't the acceleration (it's not really comfortable for a train with standing pax to accelerate much faster than 0.1G anyway). It's range (easily solved) and charging times. The latter gets complicated to resolve. You can charge quickly but then you wear out the batter packs much sooner. They'd need to model charging operationally. If it can be charged while under catenary, with no extra waiting at any station, that would be an attractive proposition.

The challenge for a battery system in commuter rail applications is both how much power it can deliver for how long at full load.....and how much power it can reclaim quickly in braking, a full-load, quick charge situation. Hybrid switching locomotives were attempted about a decade back, but failed because the batteries overheated under heavy recharge pressure.
Give it time. I expect supercapacitors will be able to solve this bit. Using batteries to cache recovered energy under repeated short duration high power bursts is very inelegant.
 
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smallspy

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I don’t know how GO’s maintenance folks would comment, but intuitively the cycle of full throttle - coast-brake-repeat suggests a lot of stresses.
The commuter duty cycle is very, very difficult on things like the prime mover, main alternator and traction motors, as they are quickly cycling from idle to full power and then back to idle (and into dynamic braking, in the case of the traction motors). This is why GO schedules overhauls on those components after just a couple of years of service, while the other components such as trucks, suspension and couplers will last far, far longer.

Well, I have had some pretty exciting accelerations behind electric locomotives! There’s no doubt that a battery contains lots of stored power. I just wonder how many times you can go zero to eighty and back to zero in a Tesla before you have to recharge. We may learn a lot as transit properties deploy e-buses....not everyone is confident that the ones arriving now can stay on the road all day, for the same reasons. But in time, they will.

- Paul
This is just it. There's a reason why battery-powered railway equipment is still only coming on line in small numbers right now - the technology still has a long way to catch up to the hype. It will eventually get there, and its use will become commonplace - but we're just not quite there yet.

Dan
 

ssiguy2

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Good for those kids to promote their ideas and kudos to Verster for genuinely engaging them and giving them real time for their presentation and not just a 2 minute photo-op. Tried and true will not solve the transportation challenges this planet needs for the 21st century. In our urbanizing and polluted world that will require truly revolutionary ideas and a complete challenge of our existing transportation paradigms.

Just to clarify my support of battery...……...…………...I don NOT think that converting any of the current trains to battery is a very good idea. GO will be running and hence needing those trains for a long time for expanded service but for commuter rail not RER. RER is where battery would be the best choice and yet can also replace one of current mega-double decker GO commuter trains in an emergency which of course Catenary couldn't outside of it's wired electrification area.

The trains currently battery are not meant for commuter service but rather regional ones ie single level. These are of course the trains RER should be running single level for a plethora of reasons for it to be truly successful as a regional connector and not just a glorified commuter system.
 

ssiguy2

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Just an update on battery trains. Austria has been testing the Siemen's battery train since 2018 and have given it a go and will commence regular service on non-electrified portions of line starting in a couple months. The battery only usage has a top speed of 120km/hr and can run on battery only for 85km. They are part of the 3 car standard catenary Desireo EMU series.
 

ssiguy2

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I don't like the idea of diesel/battery hybrid. It would be beneficial for extremely long routes {ie Toronto to London} to help reduce train emissions, and quicker de/acceleration and hence faster travelling times but for RER, no. Regardless of the technology, RER should be 100% electrified and zero emission.

That VIVA train in the UK is however quite impressive in that the new batteries can recharge a 2 car carriage in 7 minutes. With recharging at each stations, any size GO RER train should be able to run catenary free all day on all RER routes. That's catenary service and performance without the huge infrastructure costs, construction times and disruption, easier and cheaper elevated and/or underground infrastructure costs if eventually need, and all without the ugly and costly to maintain wires.
 

ssiguy2

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Battery trains are not only taking off due to technological changes and huge performance increases in such things as recharging times, distance, longevity of the batteries themselves, and weigh reduction but also the plunge in battery prices. Even with today's far superior performance of even a decade ago, one of the biggest drawbacks of battery trains {or buses} was the high cost of the battery packs themselves which made them uncompetitive.

Now, however, things have changed dramatically. Bloomberg-NEF has produced it's new Battery Pack Cost Survey and compared the prices of average prices per year and the decline has been truly staggering.. The price of a lithium-battery pack has plunged from $1160 S/kW/h in 2010 to just $170 today and is projected to decline to $90 by 2025 and just $62 by 2030. That plunge is even more significant when one looks at the inflation rate between 2010 and 2030. This of course also doesn't take into account the huge gains that we will see in the next decade in terms of battery life and performance.
 

lenaitch

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I wonder how the multiple recharge cycles, especially if partial; i.e. at every station stop, will impact battery life.
 

mdrejhon

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I wonder how the multiple recharge cycles, especially if partial; i.e. at every station stop, will impact battery life.
Partial recharge cycles are fantastic on lithium. This includes smartphone, laptops, and electric cars using lithium batteries.

Depending on the makeup of the lithium battery -- a lithium battery shallow SoC (State of Charge) is best. Recharged only to 75% and discharged only to no less than 25%, often lasts 10x longer than a battery charged to 100% and discharged to 0%. So basically you more hours of a battery that way.

It's how lithium battery chemistries tend to be prefer to be handled. The charge computer in some electric cars reserve a charge reserve so 0% actually means 10% or 15% or 25% or some other number. So you only unlock the reserve charge when you badly need to limp to the charge station. It's a method of protecting from deep discharge. And a very common recommendation is to just topoff an electric car to something like 90% except when you're needing to do an out-of-town roadtrip. But it's harder to do with smartphones to interrupt charging before 100%, a kind of a planned obscolescence thing & a human habit to do a full 100% to 0% (Good for nicads, bad for lithium). Even Teslas will automatically charge-limit (e.g. ~90%) unless you ask it to charge to 100% for the occasional superlong roadtrip -- this is because a 100% charge shortens a battery's durability.

Enhanced versions of SoC computers / battery mangement systems do this automatically to prolong longevity in valuable batteries like power grid battery farms, electric cars, home-solar lithium batteries, and other extremely expensively large lithium batteries. They already have this already in those experimental battery trains too -- to protect the train's battery.

And you can do it too....
There are some Android apps lets you limit battery charge (e.g. stop charging above 80% or 90%) so you can make your Android battery last literally forever without maintenance... but Apple doesn't have a way to interrupt your iPhone/iPad charging at a desired threshold (e.g. 85%) to minimize battery replacements. If you are lucky to have a 2-day battery in your smartphone, then it is an easy habit. But this could be tough for those who barely make it through a day...

All you have to do is follow two rules (A) Never charge fully every single time, and (B) never discharge fully every single time. And you'll be pleasantly surprised you'll never need to replace your smartphone battery in its lifetime. Even after 2 or 3 years, your battery lasts almost as long as when fully new. Even an 85%-discharge-to-15% is a good range, you still get 70% of capacity, but you'll turn your battery into Methuselah. In some cases, 10x as much partial charge cycles as 100% charge cycle -- e.g. your lithium battery is much more durable at partial charges, 5000+ cycles of 50%-to-70% recharges, instead of 500 cycles of 100% recharges.

The shallower your depth of cycle in approximately the middle of the range of lithium battery, the better for your lithium battery.
100%-0%-100%-0% = worst total lifetime number of hours out of battery
90%-10%-90%-10% = battery more durable, many more hours
80%-20%-80%-20% = battery even more durable
60%-40%-60%-40% = battery fantastically durable. Even more cradle-to-grave lifetime-hours out of the battery.
That's how lithium behaves, unlike some other battery chemistry.
The range window varies on the exact type of lithium battery chemistry, a few percent off-center. But it's extremely close to center SoC.

With good careful SoC management you can milk a smartphone battery to last for 10 to 15 year life instead of 2 years. There is a 7-year-old Tesla car that still has 98% battery capacity.
Planned obsolescence & difficulty having all-day phone life -- is part of why it's not easy to shallow-cycle a smartphone battery -- but if you want to keep using a specific $1200 phone in 5 years without battery replacements.... DO IT, shallow-cycle.

(You can make an exception, say, 5% or 10% of the time -- do a full charge/discharge cycle once in a while is OK -- like for those long days away from a power outlet).

Likewise, for battery trains there needs to be healthy excess capacity. Large numbers of shallow charges is fantastic to modern lithium batteries.

This is fundamental Lithium Battery Chemistry 101 that few Laypeople know about.

Very important when dealing with multimillion-dollar lithium battery farms at power substations like those popping up in Australia and elsewhere to smooth wind-power fluctuations.
You want your batteries to last as long as possible -- maintain shallow SoC (State Of Charge) in the goldilocks midrange away from the lithium-damaging 0%'s and 100%'s.
 
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ssiguy2

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Wabtec Corp has just announced it's new prototype for a new battery FREIGHT trains. They are NOT battery trains but hybrids between diesel and battery and hope to begin trials within the next 2 years and diesel would still do all long distance travel. The batteries are recharged by normal catenary means at end of route locations but also by very efficient regenerative braking.

The batteries alone have a whopping 4600 HP but very limited distance and at this point would be used for primarily shunting and to run during de/acceleration. They will however result in significant cost savings of diesel and greatly reduce the emissions of the trains. This is due to trains, { like airplanes} using a good chunk of their fuel and producing much of their emissions during de/acceleration just as airplanes do during take-offs and landings. They also reduce noise pollution as the battery power is obviously very quiet and nearly all shunting is done in urban areas at ports at both land and sea.

This would have been impossible just 5 years ago due to the rails not being able to withstand the huge weight of the batteries and prohibitive costs. They exemplify the truly dizzying speed at which batteries for rail transportation are developing by becoming more powerful and yet being much smaller, lighter, and a wholesale plunge in battery prices.
 

smallspy

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This would have been impossible just 5 years ago due to the rails not being able to withstand the huge weight of the batteries and prohibitive costs. They exemplify the truly dizzying speed at which batteries for rail transportation are developing by becoming more powerful and yet being much smaller, lighter, and a wholesale plunge in battery prices.
GE built their first modern mainline battery-equipped hybrid locomotive in 2012. That's well over 5 years ago.

If you're going to try and use hyperbole, the least that you can do is the slightest bit of research to try and make it sound plausible.

Dan
 

ssiguy2

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A meeting in Japan of 30 major countries energy ministers has just wrapped up including USA, ,China,, India, Russia, Brazil, Japan, most of the EU, Canada and other major world countries representing roughly 5.5 billion people. They have all agreed and committed to building a MINIMUM of 10,000 hydrogen refueling stations by 2030. Much of the push is coming from Asia as their countries are most dependent on oil imports and have massive environmental problems.

The stations include ones for trains, buses, trucks,, cargo ships, and of course cars. Asia alone want more than 4 million hydrogen cars on the road within a decade. This will catapult the number of trains and buses manufacturers options for urban transport needs and vastly more different fueling supplies/suppliers as well as huge technological advancements and efficiency..
 
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