Fast-moving train in the Netherlands

System to reuse regenerative braking energy from trains wins international award

An innovation that makes it possible to reuse breaking energy to power electric city busses has won an International Railway Union (UIC) Highspeed Digital Award. Winning Dutch company Hedgehog Applications called the price “an acknowledgement of the international potential of the Hedgehog System”. The award was given out during the 10th World Highspeed Congress in Ankara, Turkey last Thursday. It was the 2nd edition of the Highspeed Digital Awards.

Hedgehog Applications has devised a way to reuse braking energy to charge electric busses. The overhead lines are connected to bus stops in front of the train station. The energy released by the overhead lines are stored in the bus stops, ready to be used for electric busses. When a train brakes, about 50 to 75 kWh worth of energy is released. The energy is looped back into the overhead lines and temporarily stored, but not used. 180 trains a day generate about 9 MWh. That is enough to power a fleet of busses for a day.

According to Hedgehog Applications, the storage of regenerative braking energy has many sustainable benefits including CO2 reduction and less maintenance of trains. It can also provide an energy supply in the form of a battery buffer system in places where there is insufficient power or a need for grid stabilisation, in the case of an overload of the public energy grid.


CEO of the Dutch firm Hedgehog Applications Arjan Heinen received the award at the World Highspeed Congress. Out of the 40 participating projects, the project ‘Re-use of braking energy from trains’ is one of three winners of this international award. Every year, UIC issues the Highspeed Digital Award to recognise promising startup companies in the rail industry.

The project is set to be implemented in the Netherlands by 2020.

Author: Carlijn Kruidhof

Carlijn Kruidhof is editor for and She also writes for the other business-to-business titles of ProMedia Group.

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