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SEPTA and Saft for Recycled Train Power

June 30, 2012 in batteries, Electric Drive by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has launched its new system for more effectively capturing regenerative energy from trains.

SEPTA and partners are looking to more effectively recoup, and put back to work, electricity gathered via regenerative brake on Philadelphia trains.

Electricity gathered via the Recycled Energy and Optimization project will be used for accelerating trains, and, more importantly, “to generate revenue through demand-side participation in power markets.”

The pilot program draws technology from several project partners. Saft provided the Intensium Max20 brand lithium ion megawatt energy storage system. Envitech Energy, a member of the ABB group, deployed its Power Control System integration technology. PJM, a regional transmission organization that helps coordinate the movement of wholesale electricity, is a SEPTA project participant.

Stationary Storage is Saft’s Priority Now

Viridity Energy implemented its VPower software optimization and market integration system. VPower “enables the simultaneous process of regenerative capture, regulation performance, and energy market participation by selecting which market to participate in based upon market pricing, battery state of charge, and availability of regenerative energy from the trains,” SEPTA says.

Saft Intensium Max20 lithium ion battery unit for SEPTA, the Philadelphia-area Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

“It’s the addition of the grid services that make this system economically viable,” says Jim McDowall of Saft. “It’s quite a complex set of power flows that have to be juggled,” he told F&F.

The system’s big Saft battery can handle 1.5 megawatts charge-and-discharge, and can store 420 kilowatt hours, McDowall says.

The battery was built at Saft’s new facility in Jacksonville, Fla.

Saft and Johnson Control, Inc. ended the JCI-Saft joint venture that had promoted batteries for electric vehicle in the U.S. Saft said late last year that it may return to EVs (F&F, December 12). But for now, McDowall says, “Energy storage [stationary] is by far the most important part of our projected sales.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the Recycled Energy and Optimization project for trains was held June 27 at the Letterly Substation on SEPTA’s Market-Frankford line in Philadelphia.

Audrey Zibelman 
is Viridity founder, president and CEO. Michael Young
is executive VP for sales.

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