The Southeastern Pennsylvanian Transportation Authority (SEPTA), the nation’s sixth largest mass transit entity, has recently come up with a plan to save up to 40 percent on its electric bill and generate potentially millions of dollars in revenue. Teaming up with Philadelphia-based smart gird company, Viridity Energy, SEPTA is piloting a project to transfer the energy used when trains and trolleys brake. As the trains slow down, the wheels use a regenerative braking system, meaning, as the wheels brake, they drive generators. The electricity generated from the braking will then be stored in a massive battery located at a SEPTA substation in Philadelphia. The use of software developed by Viridity will insure that there are no spikes in the power distribution network and it will help decide how to allocate the power stored in the battery smoothly. The power in the battery can either be sold by SEPTA or stored to power other trains on the network. The project sill faces challenges such as selecting a battery that can absorb and discharge electricity quickly and developing software that can keep up with the fast-pace of data analysis the system will require.
SEPTA and Viridity foresee the project creating $500,000 in cost savings and revenue in its first year. The project is currently being funded by a $900,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority and is set to conclude its pilot year next summer. Take a look at the SEPTA’s webpage on sustainability for other interesting green projects the transportation authority is undertaking.
Source: Technology Review