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Policy Objectives for Energy Efficiency in Rolling Stock

Electric Traction energy consumed in Indian Railways is about 15 billion units and traction energy bill is nearly 11218 Cr. in 2015-16 (BE). This forms about 22% of total working expenditure of IR. Even small increase in regeneration of energy can cause substantial impact in reduction of IR electricity consumption and thereby energy bill.

Green initiatives on Electric locomotives

A. Three phase high horse power locomotives

As a step towards green initiative in Electric locomotives, IR had procured new generation three phase high horse power locomotives from M/s ABB, Switzerland in year 1995 with Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreement. These locomotives had energy efficient ‘state-of-the-art’ GTO propulsion system equipped with regenerative braking feature enabling regeneration up to 20% electricity. This regenerated energy is fed back to grid and consumed by other trains running in the section and resulting into reduction in traction supply bill and thereby lead to substantial reductions in CO2 emission.

B. In-house production of Three phase locomotives

Considering the inherent benefits over the conventional tap changer locomotives and regenerative braking feature in three phase locomotives, IR had gradually increased the production of such locos over the years. As on 31st August’2015 there are 918 three phase locomotives in service.
Now, IR has taken important strategic decision to stop production of conventional locomotives and manufacture only three phase locomotives from 2016-17 onwards.

C. Switchover to IGBT technology in traction propulsion system

To optimize the energy efficiency of three phase locomotives further, IGBT based traction propulsion systems are now being provided on these locomotives. Independent axle control IGBT based propulsion systems are more reliable and energy efficient as compared to existing GTO based systems.

D. Benchmarking of Energy consumption & regeneration

Efforts have been made towards deciding benchmark of energy consumption for specific train services and sections for both Freight & Coaching operation. Loco Pilots are being counseled to monitor energy consumption and increase regeneration.

Head on Generation (HOG) schemes for Electric loco haul coaching train

At present, two Diesel generator power cars are used at either end of the trains to feed electricity for train lighting, fans and air conditioning, pantry etc. (referred as Hotel load) in Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains. To eliminate these noisy, air polluting & uneconomic power cars, Hotel load converters are now being tried on few Electric locomotives which provide cleaner electricity to cater for Hotel load drawn from over head traction power supply through loco pantograph. With inherent economics & benefits, more passenger Electric locomotives are planned to be equipped with hotel load converters. At present, 5 WAP7 locos are under extensive field trials in Northern & Southern Railway. This will reduce noise pollution causes by power cars as well as reduce CO2 emission by using clean energy in place of fossil fuel energy.