Hybrid conversion of diesel trains in Ireland

Irish national railway operator Iarnród Éireann is continuing the modernisation of diesel trains. It will introduce the refurbished vehicles with new power packs. These diesel trains could be also converted into the hybrid multiple units by equipping them with batteries.

Iarnród Éireann is planning to retrofit its Class 22000 diesel trains. To this end, the railway operator purchased 41 MTU Hybrid PowerPacks from Rolls-Royce. Each power pack consists of the 375-kilowatt diesel engine and the 150-kilowatt electrical machine. Rolls-Royce will deliver the ordered equipment in summer 2021. Meanwhile, the refurbished diesel trains will start to run the scheduled connections from late 2022.

Hybrid conversion

Within the modernisation project, the Irish national railway operator is considering the future conversion of the mentioned class of the diesel vehicles into the hybrid ones. Since Rolls-Royce will supply its very first series of MTU PowerPacks that are prepared for future use as hybrid traction units, they have an option for installing batteries. Therefore, they could be turned into fully-fledged MTU Hybrid PowerPacks.

Currently, Iarnród Éireann has not decided yet how many diesel trains will be converted into hybrid vehicles and when they will be introduced on the country’s railway network. However, the Irish operator declared to do this in the coming years. Rolls-Royce, in its turn, has already scheduled the trials of MTU Hybrid PowerPacks to start this August. As a part of the pilot project, the manufacturer plans to convert nine power packs by equipping them with batteries.

Less fuel and emissions

The hybrid traction systems from Rolls-Royce have two main advantages. They consume less fuel and produce less CO2 emissions as they comply with the EU Stage V emissions directives. “Reducing the exhaust emissions of our trains is a key part of our commitment to sustainability and to the strategic ‘Ireland 2040’ project,” said Peter Smyth, Chief Mechanical Engineer at Iarnród Éireann. According to Rolls-Royce, MTU Hybrid PowerPacks are able to reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by more than 30 per cent for the Irish railway operator.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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