Capturing Energy With GE’s Dynamic Braking System

The ecomagination team at GE is pushing renewable energy limits with heat capture and hybrid dynamic braking on trains.

The energy that’s generated when stopping a train is quite substantial and GE’s ecomagination team is discovering ways to capture that energy. In a conventional train engine, that energy is dissipated as heat and lost to the atmosphere.

GE is developing technologies that can capture and store that energy in a series of sophisticated regenerative batteries, using the hybrid dynamic braking system developed by GE’s ecomagination team.

The energy can then be reused by the crew on demand, reducing fuel consumption by as much as 15 percent and emissions by as much as 50% compared to most freight locomotives in use today.

According to GE, the energy dissipated in braking a 207-ton locomotive during the course of one year is enough to power over 8,900 average US households for a year. If every locomotive in North America manufactured before 2001 were replaced with GE’s hybrid technology, in a single year nitrogen oxide emissions would be cut at a level comparable to removing nearly one third of all cars from US roads.

In addition to saving fuel, GE’s hybrid locomotive could save $425 million each year on fuel expenditures if they were to replace all current locomotives.

Read more about GE’s Rebirth of the Rails project here.

Article by Karen Mackay, appearing courtesy Crisp Green.

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