A strong and direct cooperation

Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (SBB) uses Erex system to reach it’s ambitious energy saving goals.

In 2012, SBB developed a new energy strategy in response to the strategic regulations set by the Swiss government after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Their ambitious goal was to save 600 gigawatt hours of electricity and fossil fuels.

– This cannot be achieved without changing the attitudes of nearly 30,000 employees, says Arnold Trümpi, head of Business Unit Energy Management at SBB.

– SBB is therefore doing its utmost to train its staff and help them to become more aware of the issue. For instance, locomotive drivers can have a huge influence on consumption by driving in an energy-saving manner. Technical improvements can boost the efficiency of locomotive powertrains. Further potential lies in optimising heating, ventilation and air conditioning in coaches and buildings. When buying new rolling stock, suppliers are also given incentives to optimise the energy efficiency of vehicles they intend to use, says Trümpi.

– A systematic consideration of energyefficiency criteria is important for determining services and achieving long-term goals. Possible approaches may
include improvements to certain vehicles or to timetable processes.

The new strategy is built on five pillars:
1) Increased energy efficiency.
2) Renewed and expanded hydropower plants.
3) Discontinuation of nuclear power.
4) Fostering renewables in order to cope with the rising demand for traction
energy due to a sharp increase in railway services.
5) Closing transmission line gaps and increasing links between the public
Swiss HV grid and the SBB HV grid.

– Increased energy efficiency, which conserves energy, plays a key role in SBB’s energy strategy. By 2025, SBB intends to power its trains exclusively by electricity from renewable sources, says Trümpi.

SBB set up an Energy Management business unit aimed at addressing increased energy efficiency, load management and the promotion of renewables. This unit identifies and assesses potential for savings, and governs the group-wide implementation of energy-saving measures. Conserving energy is not only sustainable, but it also eases the budget. Energy efficiency makes commercial sense.

Trümpi says that energy efficiency will become part of the ongoing process of improvement in SBB’s daily work.

– It’s a new mindset for our employees. Increased energy efficiency will not stop when an energy saving program is completed. Instead, energy consumption will be considered an economic factor in strategic and investment decisions. Decisions are, and will, be based on total cost of ownership, and energy will continue to play a more vital role in the development of new railway services. This is a big project, and a number of lessons have been learned since it began.

– You need a company wide program with executive committee attention and top down targets in order to boost energy efficiency. A program is a kind of turbo charger, meant to accelerate activities and to get the necessary people on track, says Trümpi.

– You need a dedicated team of professionals. You need to understand the railway system and you need a strong network between infrastructure managers, operators and ministries to get efficiency moving in the right direction. You need transparency in energy consumption to create incentives for energy-saving investments. Collaboration with Eress is a key success factor for SBB’s energy saving initiative. Without billing of actual consumption there is no quick and real payback from energy saving investments and this is essential.

Trümpi also points out the need for an integrated approach to all activities along the value-added chain: from strategic planning and strategic purchasing to asset optimisation and operations, down to initiatives such as eco-driving.

– You need to align infrastructure managers and operators in their work, since the optimisation of a railway system will only function properly if it is carried out in an integrated manner.

And of course, you need innovation.
– Without innovation, without taking risks, without making investments there won’t be a sustainable increase in energy efficiency. SBB plans to introduce an
in-house developed IT application, called adaptive control (“green wave”) enabling train drivers to avoid having to stop due to route conflicts. We expect to save 3% of our annual traction energy consumption, which represents huge cost savings, says Trümpi. Last, not least, you need strong partners.

– With the support of the leading rolling stock industry, specialised engineering
companies, researchers, and partners like Eress, the challenges associated with
increased energy efficiency can be met. Trümpi says that the cooperation with
Eress is going very well.

– We have a strong, direct cooperation focused on solutions. Our business model
for energy contraction is a bit different from what they’re using in the Nordic
countries, so there were some issues that had to be fixed, but now we’re on track. We don’t even have any language barriers. SBB now has a time schedule for their implementation of the Erex system.

– We were very pleased when we reached our first goal in the middle of April. We were able to combine the information from our rolling stock and Erex with our own invoice system. We’ll continue with more quality checks from September, over a period of six months, and we hope to begin real operations by April next year, says Trümpi.

Arnold Trümpi

– Increased energy efficiency, which conserves energy, plays a key role in SBB’s energy strategy. By 2025, SBB intends to power its trains exclusively by electricity from renewable sources, says Trümpi.

Created Thursday, November 10, 2016

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