Information published on 12 March 2013 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 336.

DB and partners establish Eco Rail Innovation platform

DB and 16 partners have signed a cooperation agreement for the Eco Rail Innovation (ERI) project. The objective of ERI is to develop the innovative technology needed to make zero emissions a reality for the rail sector by 2050.

The collaborative “Eco Rail Innovation” project is focused on sustainable mobility solutions. Deutsche Bahn and 16 well-known industrial enterprises, research institutions and organisations have signed a cooperation agreement to develop the technical innovations necessary for these solutions, test them in practice and prepare them for the market. Together, the partners plan to use ERI as a platform to help equip the rail sector for the future, both economically and environmentally.

The groundbreaking project will be under the auspices of Annette Schavan, the German Federal Minister of Education and Research.

Striving for a zero-emission future

The project partners’ overarching goal is to make zero emissions a reality for vehicles and installations. Their focus will be on promoting low-emission, energy-efficient components and drive systems – such as energy-storage devices for rail vehicles. The rail sector plans to use ERI to contribute to sustainable mobility, strengthening its role as a technological and scientific leader.

Endowed professorship awarded for energy-efficient systems in rail technology
The ERI initiative also seeks to identify areas in need of research and to start new research projects. For this reason ERI partners recently awarded Dr Claudia Langowsky an endowed professorship. Professor Langowsky, who studied mechanical engineering, will research and teach at Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences through 2017 in the field of energy-efficient systems in rail technology. Her research activities are to contribute to identifying and leveraging energy efficiency potential in the railway system. Her teaching will focus primarily on a graduate course on the energy efficiency of technical systems in the Master of Engineering programme. The course is scheduled to begin in the 2012/13 winter semester.

“Through this endowment, we are sending a clear signal and underscoring ERI’s commitment to the goal of zero-emission rail transportation by 2050. We are also making an important contribution to promoting young talent in the rail sector and the German federal state of Brandenburg,” said Dr Volker Kefer, Member of the DB Management Board responsible for Technology.

The following partners are involved in the joint project: Alstom, Ballard, Bombardier Transportation, Enertrag, Siemens, Solon Energie, Tognum/MTU, Voith, Vossloh, ESG, Knorr-Bremse, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG)VDB (German Railway Industry Association) and the following research organisations: DLR (German aerospace centre) and Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences.

Eco Rail Innovation – railway system challenges for 2020

A study was commissioned in March 2010 to describe the key trends the railway system will see between now and 2020. In the study, InnoZ and SCI Verkehr indicate in particular the areas in which legal, political and technical challenges will have major impacts on the competitiveness of rail as a mode of transport. A need for action is identified in four areas of innovation: energy efficiency, vehicle development, environmental effects, and management and operations.

(Source: DB)