Indian Railway
Railways System for Analysis of Vidyut Energy
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Energy Scenario

Indian Railways (IR) has one of the world's largest railway network spread over 117,996 track kilometers (66,030 route km)connecting 8,073stations and serving people of this glorious nation since 1853. In 2014-’15, Indian Railways transported 8.39 billion passengers to their destinations, i.e. more than 23 million passengers a day. In addition, it transported around one billion tons of freight across length and breadth of country. IR acts as a vehicle of inclusive growth connecting regions, communities, ports; and centers of industry, commerce, tourism and pilgrimage across country.

Indian Railways, along with national highways and ports, is backbone of India's transport infrastructure. Currently, more than 35% of total freight traffic (in terms of ton-kilometers) of country moves on rail. Further, share of Railways in certain core infrastructure sectors such as coal, power, steel, cement and in other critical sectors like fertilizer is as high as 70%. The reach and access of its services are continuously expanding with continuous improvement in its services through its dedicated team of 1.32 million and by use of cutting-edge technologies.

Efficient utilization of energy

Indian Railways have been very conscious about saving energy by its efficient use. It is said that “energy saved is energy generated”. From the efficient energy utilization perspective Electric traction offers a unique feature of ‘regenerative braking’, where the kinetic energy of the train is re-converted into electrical energy and is fed back to the electric grid. This feature is successfully incorporated in WAG-9 and WAP-5 class of locomotives capable of saving upto 20% and on all new electrical multiple units (EMU) having potential of saving 30% (figure #1 indicated the same). While this feature saves energy it also increases the life of wheels and improves availability of locomotive for running trains and thereby makes electric traction more economical.

Figure #1: Measured regeneration values of three-phase electric rolling stock

Over last five years Railways have been able to improve upon Specific Energy Consumption (SEC) by about 18.9% through various energy conservation initiatives. This in effect means a saving of about 2,656 crores. As per BEE assessment for the year 2014-’15, an improvement of 3.3% was achieved over the previous year in use of energy in traction application. Indian Railways has also bagged 87 energy conservation awards in last few years. Some of the major initiatives on traction side are:

Electric Locomotives

  • All new Locomotives will be produced with three phase technology having regeneration capability.
  • High efficiency 12000HP new generation Locomotives will be produced.
  • Regular counselling of Loco Pilots for resorting to maximum COASTING and use of regenerative breaking.
  • Electric loco idling in sheds and yards are kept to minimum.
  • Regular counselling of Loco Pilots for switching 'OFF' blower in case yard detention is more than 15 minute.
  • Switching of trailing loco in case of multi units (MU)carrying light load.
  • Benchmarking of energy consumption through use of Microprocessor based Energy Meters provided in the all-Electric Locomotives.

EMU and AC coaches

  • All new EMUs will be produced with three phase technology having regeneration capability.
  • Provision of coasting boards and power boards on routes.
  • 116 energy efficient AC/DC rakes with 3 Phase IGBT propulsion system have been introduced in Mumbai Suburban area with regenerative braking feature since 2007. These rakes have saved about 150 million units of energy per annum giving a saving of about 115 crore per annum over Central & Western Railways.
  • Further, 70 numbers of such rakes are under manufacturing at ICF.
  • Capacitor banks have been provided for improvement of power factor and to reduce feeder current in LHB EOG AC coaches and Power cars.
  • Energy efficient LED lights are being provided in all Railway coaches/EMU (picture-I).

Traction Sub-stations

  • Over 0.95 Power Factor is to be maintained in traction sub-stations.
  • Switching off of standby transformer which saves about 0.3-0.5 % of the total annual traction energy consumption.
  • Regular energy audit of traction sub-station and its implementation.

Head on Generation (HOG)

Railways have planned to introduce energy efficient Head on Generation (HOG) scheme. In this scheme, the complete electric power for Air-Conditioning, Lighting etc of the Rail coaches is received from the Locomotive. This will replace the power from diesel generator. In addition to being green and noise free, it also saves about ₹ one crore per annum per train. Two trains are already running with this system and very soon 60 trains will be taken up on this system.

Vision for Non-Traction Energy

Indian Railways consume around 2.5 Billion Units of electricity for non-traction usage, spending about 1,700 cr.per annum. The consumption of non-traction energy has largely been static especially from 2008 onwards, which is an indication of efficacy of energy conservation efforts of Indian Railway (Figure 2).

Figure #2: Consumption of non-traction electrical energy and bill paid

This energy feeds the manufacturing workshops, maintenance depots, Colonies, Station area, Platforms. As can be seen from figure #2, the demand is largely static over last 10 years, reflecting the impact of energy efficiency measures.

Economy in end use has a key focus point with progressive deployment of LED based lighting and energy efficient machines.

A SCADA system will add to savings by optimal utilization of man & electric power. To further improve upon energy efficiency in the non-traction field following are been taken up:

  • Energy audits of large load centres, to assess the demand profile and actual end use to map the energy consumption pattern.
  • Cost efficient energy sourcing strategies, to reduce cost of procurement of electricity.
  • Implementation of utility SCADA, for better supervision and control of utility grid.
  • Creation of a viable funding model whereby the improvements are cost neutral to IR.
  • Introduction of Smart grid technologies.
  • Building Automation and Control System.
  • Introduction of Smart Metering for accountal.

Keeping in line with above philosophy, energy consumption in non-traction category has almost been constant since last five years despite increase in the connected load due to number of energy conservation initiatives. However, considering the energy efficiency opportunities available and the upcoming expansion, it is felt that there is immense scope to further improve upon this by adopting and use of innovative energy efficiency technologies, solutions and best international practices.

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