ALSTOM wins French Innovation Trophy
ALSTOM frees tramways from overhead power lines
ALSTOM is rewarded for its APS and passes an important milestone with its flywheel
Saint Ouen Cedex, France – On 14 June 2006, French Minister of Transport, Dominique Perben, will present ALSTOM with the Innovation Trophy in the Energy / Environment category for its tramway ground power supply solution (APS). This innovative technology, premiered by the Urban Community of Bordeaux (France), is a catenary-free system which enables the tram to circulate as a wireless vehicle over any distance.
The trophy rewards ALSTOM’s commitment for its solutions aimed to meet urban challenges as far as integration of public transport is concerned. Today, the tramway is no longer simply a means of transport. For local authorities, it is also a means of fresh urban planning and optimising architectural heritage. In addition to this initiative, ALSTOM has embarked on the research and development of solutions enabling the “wireless” tram to integrate harmoniously into its urban environment.
After Bordeaux chose the APS solution and Nice the on-board battery system, ALSTOM signed on 17 May 2006 an exclusive agreement with the Dutch company CCM, Centre for Concepts, in Mechatronics BV for the development and manufacture of a new on-board power storage solution for tramways: the flywheel. This innovation enables the tram to generate its own fully renewable energy by recovering the energy produced during braking and to travel without power from overhead lines between two stations.
Developed in partnership with CCM and tested since 2005 in real operating conditions on the ALSTOM’s CiITADIS tram in Rotterdam, the flywheel is new in terms of its electro-mechanical functions. These involve a carbon fibred rotating permanent magnet motor-generator located on the roof of the tram, which works on the same principle as a spinning top. The kinetic energy stored during braking is restored by the electric generator to the propulsion system the next time the tramway accelerates. The system is recharged each time the brakes are applied or by a complementary high-speed recharging system each time the tramway stops at a station. By using this mechanically-generated, chemical-free energy, the flywheel is a particularly attractive product for the environment: clean energy, lower electricity consumption and a service life equal to that of the tram – 30 years.
With the flywheel to supplement its APS offer, ALSTOM becomes the only supplier of a complete range of operational wireless solutions on the world market.
With over 35 product lines and a presence in over 60 countries, ALSTOM’s Transport sector offers state-of-the-art products and services to four types of customers: public transport operators and administrators; major line operators and rolling stock owners; freight operators; and railway infrastructure owners. ALSTOM’s Transport sector, with a turnover of over 5 billion euros for the 2005-2006 financial year, is among the world leaders in the railway industry.
CCM Centre for Concepts in Mechatronics BV specialises in the industrial development of innovative technological solutions. Its expertise lies in its ability to convert an industrial concept into operational technical solutions in numerous sectors: transport, aerospace, pharmaceutics, biomedicine and so on. Founded in 1969 and located near Eindhoven in the Netherlands, CCM employs about hundred employees and has a turnover of 9 million euros.