Modular scalable energy storage: solution where battery operation is uneconomical or not possible for technical reasons

Petr Sarovsky, Published on 04/07/2022
Modular scalable energy storage: solution where battery operation is uneconomical or not possible for technical reasons
@verkehrsforschung.dlr.de

The DLR Institute of Vehicle Concepts and the DLR Institute of Networked Energy Systems are working together with Stadler Germany to develop a battery system for passenger trains in the MOSENAS cooperation project. The battery systems can be specifically adapted to vehicle cycles, operating times, and existing charging infrastructure. This also optimizes the expected service life of the battery systems.


Electric locomotives and multiple units cause fewer emissions than those with diesel engines. However, not all railway lines can be equipped with overhead lines for technical or economic reasons. Battery-electric vehicles are suitable as a climate-friendly alternative to diesel drives on non- or partially electrified lines.

In the MOSENAS project, researchers are investigating which battery types, capacities, and configurations are best suited for the reliable and economical operation of a passenger train. To build a demonstrator, the project team is conducting comprehensive technology monitoring as well as computer simulations of battery life and component tests.

Due to the modular and open technology structure, the battery system can be designed for specific routes and applications. This means that all influencing factors can be coordinated with each other. In addition, the modular concept also makes it possible to integrate future battery technologies or fuel cells.

It is particularly challenging to take into account the dynamic demands on the battery system. For example, high power is required for acceleration in the short term. When braking, on the other hand, energy can be recovered through recuperation to charge the batteries while driving. The aging of the batteries is another factor.

The trains should be able to be charged quickly at charging points in stations, depots, or on overhead lines. For economical operation, high power levels are needed to charge the batteries in the short term. To this end, the DLR researchers are analyzing all possibilities for sector coupling on site. The charging processes should put as little strain as possible on the public power grid.

Here, so-called second-use batteries in stationary storage facilities can compensate for and buffer peak loads at the charging points. These are batteries that no longer have their full capacity due to aging processes. Although they are no longer suitable for use in vehicles, they can be used, for example, as intermediate storage in the charging infrastructure.

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