Energy Storage for Railroad Locomotives Applications

cliff mirman

Cliff Mirman 
Professor and Chair/span> 
Department of Technology

pradip majumdar

Pradip Majumdar 
Department of Mechanical Engineering

david schroederDavid Schroeder
Assistant Professor
Department of Technology




Project Description: Large diesel engines create large amounts of energy to accelerate the locomotive using traction motors located on the wheels or truck assemblies. These motors are also used to slow down in the deceleration phase, and currently, all of the work done by the traction motors in the deceleration is dissipated in the form of heat. This project will look at modes of regenerating the braking energy in the form of stored energy that can be used to accelerate the train when needed. This stored energy will allow the engine to work more efficiently. REU research students will work alongside NIU faculty and graduate students to perform feasibility analyses for various battery types that could be used in locomotive applications. Battery energy density, power density, safety, lifetime, and cost will be considered in the analysis. Various road locomotive duty cycles will be considered as this is expected to substantially influence the optimal performance of the battery as well as the potential fuel savings that could be realized using a hybrid design. Once the feasibility analysis has been completed, combined electrochemical and thermal analysis of several battery configurations using computer simulation will be performed in order to understand the thermal management requirements for the batteries under a variety of ambient conditions. In addition, the REU students will have the ability to perform their research both in and out of the laboratory, where they will use an experimental test facility to evaluate the thermal performance of various batteries during charging and discharging and validate the computer model.