ABB selected for SA diesel-hybrid train fleet conversion

ABB Australia Pty Ltd

Thursday, 01 September, 2022

ABB selected for SA diesel-hybrid train fleet conversion

The South Australian Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) has selected ABB Australia for a conversion project of some of the state’s train fleet — it has ordered 44 sets of ABB’s BORDLINE Energy Storage Systems (ESS), traction integration module, and energy management systems, in what is claimed to be an Australian-first diesel-hybrid train set.

For its enclosed stations, DIT sought to remove diesel engine noise and exhaust fumes on its trains and to upgrade its rolling stock fleet to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.   

ABB’s BORDLINE ESS was selected to be used to upgrade the propulsion system for Adelaide Metro’s 44 train sets.

The lithium-ion-based onboard ESS is suitable for use in a range of traction applications and is designed to deliver high power for vehicles in harsh environments like mining vehicles, electric buses, marine, on/off-road vehicles, special purpose vehicles or industrial applications.

The ESS converts the kinetic energy of the train to electrical energy during braking and then stores this in an onboard battery. The recovery of braking energy can improve the efficiency and reduce fuel consumption and overall carbon footprint. The solution is expected to result in energy savings of 16%. Thanks to high-efficiency, flexible and modular traction systems, the ESS integration is enabled without any need for major changes in the existing system.

The upgrade is designed to reduce mechanical braking and thus will see a reduction in brake dust emissions and maintenance costs. Slow speed operation can be achieved with the train’s engine turned off and it can be turned off completely while docked at the station.

As a result of this diesel engine and converter upgrade to implement an ESS, each train will deliver a C02 reduction in emissions of 54 tonnes per year — that’s 2400 tonnes annually for all 44 train sets combined.

Pradip Savaliya, Product Manager for Traction Converters for ABB in Australia and New Zealand said: “The diesel-hybrid solution we’ve developed for DIT will see the energy from regenerative braking used to charge the train’s battery which can be used in parallel with the diesel engine as a booster to save fuel and help the environment.

“The additional capability of the battery means it can be used in replacement of the diesel engine when supplying auxiliary loads at the train platform to reduce noise output and air pollution.”

The upgrade also consists of new traction converters and energy management systems which will optimise the trains’ traction performance.

Ali Parvizi, Traction Sales Manager for ABB in Australia and New Zealand, said: “This upgrade maintains the current safety standards, improves passenger comfort and dramatically improves DIT’s sustainable mobility. ABB Australia is proud to be supporting this project in such a major way.”

Mike Briggs, Head of the Motion Business for ABB in Australia said: “This is a milestone project for the ABB Motion Traction business. Facilitating enhanced train performance with our battery technology is just one example of how we can contribute to addressing the climate crisis in a significant way, in keeping with our commitment to reduce CO2 emissions for ourselves, our customers, and society.

“The introduction of our Energy Storage and Management Systems within Australia will ensure opportunities for employment in these emerging technology sectors.

“ABB is equally committed to the whole-of-life support for these designs, and we will be setting up a new service facility in Australia to support this project and all those ensuing.”

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Image supplied.

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