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Electric car batteries could power trains

High Speed Rail 2by3

Engineers at the University of Sheffield have received a £1.5M grant to study whether electric vehicles parked at train stations could be used to power trains.

The University is working with Network Rail on the TransEnergy project, which aims to help reduce the pressure on the electricity network at peak rail commuter times.

Engineers will look whether batteries from electric vehicles parked at train stations could supplement the system at busy periods. In exchange, commuters could receive free parking. The team is building an energy storage test facility alongside a train line, which will investigate both batteries and supercapacitors as energy storage solutions.

University of Sheffield Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering project leader Dr Martin Foster said: “Electric powered rail travel has helped to reduce pollution and improve the comfort of travellers. Our project will look at how we can meet the demand for more electricity on our railways by investigating innovative ways to store surplus energy.

“Similar energy storage systems are already being used on the electricity grid during peak times and by translating these to our railways, we could deliver real benefits to both rail companies and consumers, bringing down the costs of travel and improving services.”

Network Rail principal engineer James Ambrose added: “Network Rail is committed to electrifying more lines in the UK. Our project will be working with rail providers to recommend new approaches that will mean increased efficiency for the industry.”

The project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and includes the University of Leeds and the University of Southampton.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • This story is missing some key information. All that is mentioned in this story is draining the cars' batteries. Presumably there is also a plan to then recharge the cars' batteries too? If the additional power is required for peak commuter times, when there are more trains running, then does this mean the cars will be charged at off-peak travel times? In which case I foresee:
    1. In the morning I drive to the station in my electric car, park it and get on the train.
    2. For the rest of the morning peak commute, my car's battery is used to run trains.
    3. During working hours my car is then recharged.
    4. In the evening peak commute my car's battery is used to run trains. I catch the train home at this time.
    5. I arrive back at my home station, wanting to drive home, but my car battery is flat!

    Either I'm missing something here, or investigating this proposal is a waste of money. Hopefully it's the former, in which case this article is missing a lot of explanation.

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  • I agree with Andrew Taylor, I even checked the date incase I had missed something,

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