Electric cars aren’t the only electric vehicles out there. And, arguably, electric trains are a whole ‘nother level of awesome. While still not the norm, capturing the braking energy of trains and turning it back into electricity has been growing in popularity. The latest news along these lines is that VYCON (“designer and manufacturer of environmentally friendly, high-speed energy storage flywheel systems”), to do just that, “has been awarded a $3.6 million contract by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to install a Wayside Energy Storage Substation (WESS) at the L.A. Metro Red Line Westlake / MacArthur Park Station.”
Now, in case this isn’t all clear to you, VYCON’s flywheel tech absorbs and stores the kinetic energy created from the braking trains, then puts that energy back into accelerating trains to give them a little boost. (If it didn’t do this, that energy would simply be ‘lost’ as heat.)
Here are some other benefits of the system (via VYCON):
- Elimination of train slowdowns and stop/starts by correcting low voltage occurrences.
- Increasing system reliability through greater power capacity.
- Redundancy in power source for adjacent substation outage or emergencies.
Here’s a video explaining VYCON’s technology in more details (warning: super PR voice):