The prototype for the energy storage system of the first hybrid TER train has completed its trials at Alstom’s Tarbes site, a centre of excellence for “green” traction systems.
The tests have made it possible to finalise the design and start manufacturing the pre-series systems in September. They will be installed on the first experimental hybrid TER train in early 2021.
The hybrid TER is France’s first project to produce a hybrid Régiolis train, a project launched by Alstom in 2018 in partnership with SNCF and the French regions of Centre-Val de Loire, Grand Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie.
The hybridisation involves replacing half of the thermal engines with energy storage systems made up of lithium-ion batteries.
“We are today taking a new step towards a form of rail mobility that is increasingly respectful of the planet. The hybrid TER is part of the range of solutions to which we are committed, alongside the regions, in order to produce more TERs and less CO2, with our programme Planeter. Because each situation is different, we have multiple solutions. My thanks go to Alstom and the regions of Occitanie, Grand Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Centre-Val de Loire for the quality of our partnership,” Frank Lacroix, TER Managing Director said.
The targeted objectives are a 20% reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a reduction in operating and maintenance costs. The lithium-ion batteries will make it possible to recover and store braking energy for reuse. The traction will be more economical, combining thermal energy and stored energy. Representing another benefit, the thermal engines can be stopped during extended halts in stations, with the train then being powered by its batteries. This technology will help to maintain performance in the event of low catenary voltage.
The manufacture of the pre-series traction boxes – the energy storage system comprising the lithium-ion batteries and a power converter, started in September 2020 at Alstom’s Tarbes site. At the same time, SNCF and Alstom are continuing their work on regulatory safety demonstrations and development.
The first train, a Regiolis Occitanie train already in service, will be hybridised as of early 2021 at Alstom’s Reichshoffen factory and the tests will take place over the course of the year.
The trials will then continue in commercial service from 2022 to validate the functions and performance of the solution in real conditions, with a view to mass deployment.