Alstom will hybridize TER train in early 2021

Alstom has successfully completed trial tests of a new energy storage system to hybridize the French regional TER trains, which will start at the beginning of 2021. Manufacturing of the pre-series began in September this year. The tests have allowed for the final design of the traction system to be done.

The traction system was run through two tests. The ‘zero-emission’ mode using batteries only and second, was ‘hybridisation’ mode which uses thermal engines and batteries. After months of testing the design of the traction box was made. “The tests and validation of the energy storage system conducted at our factory in Tarbes demonstrate that the hybridisation of thermal trains is a technical and economically feasible solution for reducing CO2 emissions and costs,” says Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud, President of Alstom in France.

In 2018 Alstom launched a project to hybridise a TER train in partnership with SNCF and the French regions of Centre-Val de Loire, Grand Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie. The hybrid system will be installed in Alstom’s TER Occitanie Régiolis train. This train runs in the southern region of France, Occitanie, and is part of the Coradia Polyvalent fleet which reaches speeds of 160 kilometres per hour.

Dual-mode

The dual-mode train will have half of the thermal engines replaced with storage systems made of lithium-ion batteries. “Rail is already a mode that does not emit much CO2, and it will soon be even better thanks to the hybrid TER,” explains Carole Desnost, Director of Research and Innovation at SNCF. “It’s what the passengers, as well as the regions, are very much expecting. Hybridisation is now entering the production phase.”

The hybrid TER train aims to target a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and operation and maintenance costs. The lithium-ion batteries are installed to recover and store braking energy for reuse. According to Alstom the combination of thermal and stored energy will allow the traction to be more economical.

An additional benefit will be that the train’s thermal engine can be interrupted during longer stops at stations and use power from its batteries. Furthermore, this dual-mode method will help in case of the event of a low catenary voltage (in case there is a catenary available). The train will be in commercial service from 2022 to see its performance in real conditions.

“We are today taking a new step towards a form of rail mobility that is increasingly respectful of the planet,” says Frank Lacroix, TER Managing Director. ”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.”

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Author: Sarah Chebaro

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