Innovations needed to satisfy customer or environmental requirements must be tested and matured for production in advance. For the purpose, technology programs are used to demonstrate the suitability of new propulsion and power solution technologies. These are normally funded under cooperative or sponsored programs.
The forward-looking drive systems for rail applications manufactured by the Tognum subsidiary MTU Friedrichshafen are setting standards in terms of performance, low emissions and low fuel consumption. To further expand its technological edge, MTU is following two strategies in its R&D activities: internal engine technologies and exhaust gas aftertreatment. The internal engine technologies include the traditional charging, fuel injection and engine electronics, in addition to technologies recently introduced, such as the Miller process and exhaust gas recirculation. As a result of the continuing development of these internal engine measures, untreated emissions and fuel consumption can be optimised in such a way that exhaust gas aftertreatment systems – such as particulate filters or SCR catalytic converters – can be quite compact in size. MTU has been testing combinations of these technologies in numerous field trials in collaboration with railway operators.
On track for the future
The EU CleanER-D (Clean European Rail-Diesel) project, in which MTU in collaboration with Deutsche Bahn and other development partners will be testing new concept technologies to meet future emission levels based on the EU Stage III B engine.
The engine is installed in a Class 225 diesel freight locomotive. It includes a two-stage turbocharging system with three turbochargers and charge air intercooling, in addition to a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system. When combined with the new generation of common-rail fuel injection system, the nitrogen oxides will be reduced without the need for additional exhaust gas aftertreatment using an SCR catalytic converter.
The hybrid Powerpack is a forward-looking alternative to conventional drive concepts suitable both for building brand new railcars and repowering existing ones. The hybrid underfloor drive does not emit the heat arising from braking energy into the environment, but collects it in batteries and uses it for re-starting and the stop-and-go mode. As a result, fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by up to 25 percent. Equipped with selective catalytic reduction for exhaust aftertreatment, the drive will be able to satisfy the EU Stage III B emissions regulations coming into force in 2012.
MTU is currently preparing to test the innovative technology in a rail car in cooperation with the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary DB RegioNetz Verkehrs GmbH Westfrankenbahn. As part of a state-sponsored project, a Class 642 local transport railcar equipped with an MTU hybrid drive will go into service on the Aschaffenbarg-Miltenberg line in late 2012. The German Ministry for Transport, Construction and Urban Development is supporting development and testing of the hybrid drive as part of the ‘Model Regions Electric Mobility’ program being implemented by NOW GmbH, the National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.
In the Locomotive with Clean Exhaust (LOCEX) project, MTU conducted trials from mid- 2008 to mid-2010 with a retrofit exhaust gas aftertreatment system (AGN) with low weight and space requirement in collaboration with Deutsche Bahn. The prototype of an AGN system developed by MTU was connected to an 8V Series 4000 R41 engine in a heavy-duty Class 294 shunting locomotive and tested for several thousand hours of operation over a period of two years in day-to-day shunting services. The AGN system consisted of a diesel oxidation catalytic converter, an SCR catalytic converter and a diesel particulate filter, which was also designed as an exhaust silencer.