PLK starts a new innovation programme

railway industry PKP Polish Railway Lines PKP PLK and the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) signed a new cooperation agreement for the development of railway industry innovation segment. As part of the second competition programme (BRIK II), the partners will look for new solutions in four thematic areas: railway traffic safety, energy efficiency, ecology and improvement of the infrastructure diagnostics process.

Until 2033, the two partners will spend a total PLN 100 million (EUR 21.87 million) on a 50:50 basis for innovation, as well as the activities on the science sector and the railway industry.

PKP PLK and NCBR signed an annex on the implementation of the BRIK Joint Undertaking – Research and Development in Railway Infrastructure project.

“Innovations including in the field of management and maintenance of railway infrastructure, monitoring its impact on the environment and safety will contribute to increasing the efficiency of railways, improving the processes of maintenance and modernisation,” Wojciech Kamieniecki, the director of NCBR said.

“We are using of all the possibilities to make the railway even safer, more environmentally friendly and effective. That is why we look for and implement innovative solutions in the area of safety, maintenance and operation of railway lines and ecology,” Ireneusz Merchel, the CEO of PKP PLK said.

The two institutions are planning to launch the BRIK II competition for railway safety, ecology and monitoring of the railway network. The aim of the activities is to find new solutions that will increase safety on the railway network, improve energy efficiency, develop pro-ecological solutions and improve the maintenance process of railway lines. It is also planned to develop a support system for the dispatcher to make decisions in a crisis situation to change the routes of some trains.A method of obtaining information about trees and shrubs in the vicinity of railway lines and a methodology for ensuring the safety of train traffic will also be developed and tested.

In the area of improving energy efficiency, it is planned to develop technology and implement two-way traction substations and energy storage. They will allow for recovery and reduction of energy consumption. A technical solution is also expected in this field, which will reduce the energy consumption of electric turnout heating devices.

The development of ecological solutions is related to the analysis of the possibility of using the photocatalytic technology in the railway area, which has properties reducing air pollution. It is also planned to develop an ecological method of removing vegetation on the rail lines. It is also planned to create a system of precise monitoring and processing of information on operational, technical and environmental data.

In the area of improving the diagnostics of the technical condition of the infrastructure, it is planned to develop a device that will enable defectoscopy examinations of rails, detecting defects, while driving at a speed of 60-120 km/h.

In one of the projects, it is also planned to use radiological examinations for the comprehensive examination of the condition of the rails. At the interface between maintenance and investment activities is the use of data obtained from measurements made with a scanner. It is also planned to develop an innovative system for monitoring the condition of the railway infrastructure using drones.

Under the BRIK I, the railway industry is implementing ten innovative projects which include the development and implementation of a rail temperature measurement system, development of a lighting management system, or anti-theft solutions for the traction network or enabling the use of photovoltaic panels on acoustic screens.

Some projects are implemented with the active participation and support of PLK as part of a lighting management project, with the use of PLK resources, a test installation is implemented at the Railway Lines Plant in Gdynia.

The completion of all research and development projects under the first BRIK competition, with a total value of approximately PLN 43 million (EUR 9.4 million) is planned by the end of 2023.

The BRIK I competition was announced under the 2014-2020 Smart Growth Operational Programme, while the financing of the BRIK II call will come from national funds.

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