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Tube trains recyle braking energy to power stations

28 September 2015

A successful trial on the Victoria line has shown the potential for recycled waste energy from Tube train braking to power stations.

Image: Shutterstock

A world-first trial that uses the latest technology to collect waste energy from Tube train brakes has captured enough power to run a large Underground station - opening the way for significant savings across the network.

London Underground (LU) used the new inverter-based system at the Cloudesley Road substation on the Victoria line for a five-week trial, and in just one week of operation, the new technology recovered enough power to run a station as large as Holborn for more than two days per week.

The results show that the new green technology could allow LU to tap into a previously inaccessible resource, reducing its overall carbon footprint and saving as much as £6m every year for reinvestment in improving transport.

As well as saving energy, the technology has the added benefit of lessening the amount of heat generated by trains braking in tunnels, which in turn would reduce the energy required to operate LU's cooling systems. The results indicated that 1MWh of energy can be captured per day - enough to power 104 homes per year.

The trial follows a number of other measures put in place by the Mayor and Transport for London to 'green' the Capital's Tube system. In January, it was announced the historic Greenwich Power Station would be revamped to transform it into a low-carbon power generator for the Tube network. Its six new gas engines will replace existing boilers and provide cheaper, cleaner power for the Tube, with waste heat being channelled into a new local heat network that will also benefit residents.


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