Rolls-Royce and Irish Rail bring mtu hybrid drives to the Emerald Isle

Posted on September 19, 2018

Rolls-Royce and Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, the state-owned railway of the Republic of Ireland, will jointly pioneer the use of mtu hybrid rail drives on the Irish railway network.

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  • Memorandum of Understanding for supply of at least nine mtu Hybrid PowerPacks from 2021
  • Plan to convert entire Class 22000 fleet pending successful trials
  • Fuel savings of up to 33%

Rolls-Royce and Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, the state-owned railway of the Republic of Ireland, will jointly pioneer the use of mtu hybrid rail drives on the Irish railway network. At Innotrans, the leading international trade fair for rail and transport technology, the two parties agreed that from the year 2021 initially nine mtu Hybrid PowerPacks would be supplied for Class 22000 rail vehicles. The agreement includes an option for an additional three Hybrid-PowerPacks. Subject to the success of the trials, Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail plans to convert its entire Class 22000 fleet using up to 234 mtu Hybrid PowerPacks. Conversion to the hybrid configuration is to get going by early 2022 at the latest. mtu has already demonstrated in simulations that its Hybrid PowerPack can, depending on route and timetable, produce fuel savings of up to 33% on the Irish rail network.

Jim Meade, CEO of Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, said: “We’re delighted to be able to join forces with Rolls-Royce in bringing a new and eco-friendly kind of rail drive technology to Ireland. Our passengers will greatly appreciate the ride on an even quieter train, and since this is a rail drive that spares resources, we all stand to gain from the benefits to the environment that it offers.”

Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, said: “Our Hybrid PowerPack is a groundbreaking and environmentally friendly high-tech drive system. With it, we are setting new standards for alternative rail drives and are making an important contribution to the sustainable reduction of CO2 emissions. The fuel saving potential of over 30% which we can achieve in service with Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail is spectacular. We are proud that Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail will be one of the first customers of   the Hybrid PowerPack and that we will jointly bring this innovative drive system into regular service.”

First of all, from the end of 2019, Rolls-Royce is to supply a total of six conventional mtu PowerPacks based on pre-series 6H 1800 units compliant with the future EU Stage V emissions regulations. These will be installed in two Class 22000 vehicles operated by Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail and are already prepared for conversion to a Hybrid PowerPack configuration at a later stage. After the one-year trial, Rolls-Royce will then deliver the first three brand-new mtu Hybrid PowerPacks to Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail in early 2021. At the same time mtu will convert the six conventional PowerPacks into Hybrid PowerPacks. This means that from the end of 2021, three Class 22000 rail vehicles powered by mtu’s new Hybrid PowerPacks will be in service on Irish Railways. Before the main agreement is signed, Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail will decide whether to exercise an option for an additional three – for a total of twelve – Hybrid PowerPacks to be included in the scope of delivery.   

The mtu Hybrid PowerPack is an eco-friendly drive system which combines the advantages of diesel and battery-powered rail traction. It incorporates an mtu diesel engine plus an electric machine, which can be used either as an electric motor or generator, and the mtu EnergyPack battery system which stores the energy recovered during braking. This configuration enables significant decreases in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – in the case of Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail a drop in fuel consumption of up to 33% is predicted. Another option is travel in battery-only, emissions-free electric mode in urban areas. Around stations, for example, drive noise falls by as much as 75% (20 dB(A)). The total operating costs of rail vehicles with mtu hybrid drives are also significantly lower, and even brake pads and discs have reduced wear due to brake energy recuperation. As a result of the additional power of the electric machine, train operators have the possibility to make up time delays using the improved drive dynamics and acceleration. This also enables more frequent connections as well as adding additional stops.

Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail has been endorsing mtu drive solutions for over a decade. Its entire 22000 Class fleet is driven by mtu PowerPacks based on 6H 1800 R83 units. A contract was recently closed between Rolls-Royce and Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail for retro-fitting newer, more efficient transmissions to three mtu PowerPacks. The same state-of-the-art transmissions will be used in the new mtu Hybrid PowerPacks.

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Rolf Behrens Spokesman Trade Media Mobile Power Solutions
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