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Thursday, June 18, 2009

World's most powerful Hybrid locomotive

In our series of articles where we take a look at the worlds biggest electric vehicles in an effort to dispel the myth that EVs have to be low powered vehicles we've already looked at a 3650 hp dump truck, a 24,460 hp Bullet train and a 140,000 hp ship this week we'll look at Diesel electric hybrid locomotive.

Although the V12 Diesel in the GE Evolution Hybrid Locomotive is 'only' 4,400-horsepower, on a typical fully loaded coal train, for example, pulling 100 coal hoppers with 10,000 tons that stretched 2 kilometers (enough to keep a 1 GW coal fired power plant fueled for a single day), up to 5 such locomotive would be used giving a combined output of 22,000 hp with close to half a million newton meter (489,000 Nm) of starting torque from it's AC electric traction motors.

What sets the GE hybrid locomotive apart from the rest is while standard diesel electric locos burn off brake energy as heat through a large roof mounted resistor bank called a rheostat, the hybrid captures the energy dissipated during braking and store it in a series of large batteries. This stored energy can allow operators to draw an additional 2,000 horsepower when needed while reducing fuel consumption by as much as 15 percent and emissions by as much as 50 percent compared to most of the freight locomotives in use today.

The energy dissipated in braking a 207-ton locomotive during the course of one year is enough to power 160 households for that year. In fuel savings the recycling of energy through regenerative braking saves approximately 1 million gallons of fuel over its lifetime or approximately $2.50 million at $2.50 per gallon.

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