You are here

Advanced Locomotive Energy Storage System


Rail transportation is one of the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient means of transportation for both passengers and freight.  However, there are opportunities to improve upon these benefits and to extend their impact by further improving the efficiency and reducing the emissions associated with rail transportation and by increasing the proportion of our freight and passenger traffic which is moved by rail.  Opportunities exist for both freight and passenger operations to recover and store energy associated with braking operations.  Additionally, advances in locomotive hybrid technologies enable locomotives to operate from battery power being charged from the locomotive’s diesel engine, fuel cell system or shore power.  For the most part, the enabling technologies already exist to create successful wayside and on-board energy storage systems; however, such systems have not been fully adapted to the railroad environment or require further development and refinement to create designs which are likely to yield a positive return on investment for implementation.  The development, adaptation, refinement of systems and/or subsystems which are likely to lead to the earliest and greatest real-world impact are sought.  The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is interested in developing and demonstrating new and emerging technologies which support these goals.  Successful proposals will need to include a limited lifecycle cost/benefit analysis to demonstrate to likelihood of a positive return on investment for implementation once commercialized. The following describes some of the general areas of potential interest.

Expected Phase I Outcomes:

Outcomes expected from the Phase I include a detailed concept that demonstrates the feasibility of developing a prototype energy storage system that is easily integrated into the locomotive power system, and can handle the harsh railroad environment and duty cycle; as well as satisfy the attributes described above. 

Expected Phase II Outcomes:

Phase 2 efforts include the manufacturing, demonstration and/or integration of the prototype system into a locomotive for real world testing.

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government