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Regenerative Braking Traincar

Railroad Car with Flywheel for Regenerative Braking
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This idea may be baked, or trains might be so efficient that they don't need it.

This would be a railroad car that goes behind the locomotive that transfers the energy from braking (or going downhill) to a giant flywheel (mechanically or electrically, whichever is most efficient for the specific engineering parameters).

This energy is used to provide power for the rest of the train, or for acceleration (or going uphill).

I imagine flywheel energy storage may be more bakeable for a train than for a car (easier to add on additional weight, not too many turns, etc.)

cowtamer, Mar 06 2010

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       Electric locos typically put power back into the overhead supply when braking, so this is a diesel-electric only proposal. These typically use their drive system as brakes, and dump the generated electrical power as heat, via resistors. There might be something to this idea, to save energy & speed trains' acceleration.
sstvp, Mar 07 2010
  

       I was actually thinking that this would be easier with Diesel Electric systems, but if this is a separate car that is independently able to brake and accelerate (after receiving the command to do so from the locomotive), it may still be usable with other systems.   

       Of course, I know nothing about engineering trains :) I've heard that centralized flywheel storage systems were in use with some subway systems. Whether this would make sense on a train is something I'd love to hear from an actual engineer...
cowtamer, Mar 07 2010
  

       //not too many turns// not too many stops or speed changes either. Might be something in there though to allow usage of a lower power-rated locomotive on some runs.
FlyingToaster, Mar 07 2010
  

       There certainly is a lot of energy there.. For grid connected that would be the ultimate. What it would take to store that on-board is no joke.
AutoMcDonough, Mar 08 2010
  
      
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