The ScotRail train which you may be travelling in today as you read this may not look or feel any different from normal – but it could be the one using a new hydraulic technology which could eliminate thousands of tonnes of Scottish C02 emissions a year.
ScotRail and energy technology company Artemis Intelligent Power have teamed up to test a standard commuter train fitted with a new type of digital hydraulic pump.
A specially-equipped ScotRail class 170 Turbostar train-set is being put through its paces this month on various passenger routes, including Glasgow-Edinburgh and Perth-Inverness.
If adopted nationwide across ScotRail’s fleet of class 170 trains, it would reduce the company’s annual CO₂ emissions by more than 4,000 tonnes and cut diesel fuel use by more than 1.5 million litres.
The Edinburgh-based firm calls their technology ‘Digital Displacement’, and says it has massive potential wherever hydraulic systems are found – for example in diggers, buses, trucks and even renewable energy.
They calculate that if their digital technology were used throughout a train’s entire transmission – and not just the auxiliary systems – then overall fuel use could be cut by up to 30 percent.
The pumps are made in the Artemis factory at Loanhead, Edinburgh, where the firm employs more than 50 workers.
Their patented technology has already been used by Mitsubishi in its 7MW Sea Angel wind turbine – the world’s largest floating offshore wind turbine – and think it will be adopted in other areas in the years ahead. Artemis is wholly-owned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan.
Dr. Niall Caldwell, Artemis’ managing director, said: “It is enormously expensive to electrify our train lines and it is just not practical in many rural locations in Scotland and globally.
“Diesel will be with us for many decades to come, so we have focussed on a technology which can be readily adopted and make a big impact right now.
“At Artemis we have made a new type of digital hydraulic pump – which uses computer-controlled valves to switch the pump’s cylinders off when not needed. This means the pump is much more controllable and efficient, and can give significant fuel savings wherever it is used.
“Most modern diesel trains rely on a hydraulic unit to power each carriage’s cooling fans and generate electricity, which together use up around ten to 15 percent of the engine’s fuel.”
5 Jan 2018