Technology Merit: Transportation


Maxwell Technologies for pioneering the use of energy recuperation for electric rail systems, with two breakthrough applications announced in 2014. With Spanish power electronics and controls systems engineering firm Win Inertia, Maxwell’s ultracapacitors were deployed at the Cerro Negro, Spain, rail station in August. The rapid charging and discharging capabilities of the technology is at the heart of a stationary wayside braking energy recuperation system that recovers 8-10% of the total energy used by the rail system at that station. The system also enables the railway operator, ADIF, to store excess energy in a battery bank for an EV charging station at the rail station. According to Maxwell, wayside energy recuperation systems have been gaining traction as major rail OEMs have developed and validated such systems and demonstrated the value proposition with grid power consumption savings and reduced brake wear and maintenance. Maxwell Technologies also worked with ABB in 2014 to install a hybrid configuration of the ENVILINE energy recovery and storage system for the Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) light rail system. The addition of Maxwell ultracapacitors in this system reduces SEPTA rail vehicles’ consumption of grid energy by 10-20% and enables the sale of excess power for utility grid frequency regulation. Between energy cost savings and revenues from frequency regulation, the system is expected to generate $250,000 annually.