Each stationary “wayside” EnerGstor unit incorporates a Maxwell ultracapacitor array that is capable of storing up to two kWh of electrical energy generated by a rail vehicle’s braking energy recuperation system.
Recuperative braking is accomplished by running the vehicle’s electric motor backwards to stop the vehicle with the motor’s resistance. An electric motor running backwards also acts as an electric energy generator or dynamo that converts kinetic energy into electrical energy, which can be stored for future use.
Bombardier’s EnerGstor system offers a 20 to 30 percent reduction in grid power consumption; improved regulation of line voltage across a multistop rail system; significant reduction in brake maintenance expense, and backup power to enable vehicles to reach a station in the event of a grid power failure, the company says.
Ultracapacitors are becoming popular in the auto industry according to Environmental Leader columnist, and VP of sales at energy storage firm Ioxus Inc., Jeff Colton.
Rising fuel prices and increasing consumer demand for fuel-efficient options are leading automakers to look for ways to green their products, he says.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled “Bombardier,” and incorrectly identified the company as U.K.-based. This has now been corrected.