- TUV Rheinland is researching the potential for PV applications on and in all rail infrastructure in Germany
- It will study the possibility of increasing the use of renewable energy in the sector by identifying challenges and opportunities
- The 14-month project is aimed at enabling rail infrastructure to further improve its GHG balance
Independent testing and certification services provider TÜV Rheinland has been contracted by the German Center for Rail Traffic Research (DZSF) to investigate the potential of solar PV applications on and in all rail infrastructure in the country. The 14-month research work will also ascertain which PV applications thus applied can be used to feed electrical energy directly into the rail power grid.
So far, solar power generated is required to be directly fed into the railroad’s single-phase, 15-kilovolt overhead network, explained TÜV Rheinland. Their research will focus on, among others, PV applications for track-integrated PV modules in the track bed and modules attached to or integrated into noise barriers.
“If it turns out to be possible to generate energy along the widely ramified railway electrification system and feed it in directly, thereby making better use of existing infrastructure and reducing energy losses through multiple conversion and transport, the rail mode of transport could further improve its greenhouse gas balance,” said Rail Technology Expert at TÜV Rheinland, Jürgen van der Weem.
Research will be completed in 3 work packages, starting with market research into PV systems relevant to railroads, factoring in such work carried out internationally. Basis this, the researchers will quantitatively record PV potential for existing areas on and in Germany’s rail infrastructure, along with feed-in-power and energy that can be generated.
The 3rd package will see TÜV Rheinland providing concrete recommendations for requisite adjustments needed due to the integration of PV systems on and in the rail infrastructure ‘taking direct feed into account’.
This research will enable researchers to identify possible barriers, restrictions as well as opportunities to address the same.
TÜV Rheinland admits that while electrification of transport sector already ensures a large amount of renewable energy being used by the German rail transport, it could be increased even more.