A number of opportunities are available with leading edge technology developed and offered to improve environmental elements of new and existing tramway systems as well as associated infrastructure. Incorporating the latest equipment, for example, enables further energy savings in day-to-day tram operations.
Our report looked at the opportunities for the new Uithoflijn low-floor tramway system, in particular, the growing use of battery technology employed with SuperCapacitor technology to achieve not only aesthetic 'catenary-free' improvements, but also to address issues such as EMC interference and the saving of traction power supply energy consumed by rolling stock. The advantages and disadvantages of these opportunities were discussed, covering emerging start-up and lifecycle costs and EMC interference management.
Determining whether a new tramway should consider catenary-free/energy recovery operations or not depends on several factors – each application has bespoke requirements and key political, environmental, social, economic and commercial drivers. For example, the historical areas of a city need to be preserved and remain unaffected by visual intrusion from overhead lines which diminishes scenic beauty. These types of concerns form the basis for designs and system types selected.
It is expected that there will be a surge in the demand for urban type rolling stock in the coming years and tram manufacturers are now looking at how they can increase their market share. The fitting of catenary-free and energy-saving systems to trams is seen as an area where this aim can be achieved, especially when promoters and operators are under increasing pressure to be more energy-conscious and environmentally-friendly.