The modern train is a far cry from the days of hulking steam locomotives chugging their way across the wilderness. Nowadays, trains are complex webs of interlocking sensors and subsystems that flit from station to station on tight timetables. Passengers expect efficient, expedient and comfortable commutes when they ride the rails.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are crucial in delivering a comfortable transit experience to the customer. Utterly indispensable in extremely hot or cold climates, and certainly expected even in moderate temperatures; HVAC systems are in constant operation on most rolling stock.
As a result of this, HVAC systems make up a sizeable portion of a train’s energy consumption, ranging from anywhere between 20% - 40%. As such, any measures that increase the efficiency of a train’s HVAC system have enormous cost-saving potential – particularly when scaled across a large fleet. Secondary environmental benefits also accompany a diminished energy draw.
One innovative method of achieving these lofty goals is through the incorporation of CO2 monitoring into HVAC systems. As CO2 is a by-product of breathing, sensors can obtain an indication of how many passengers are present within a train carriage by accurately tracking the fluctuating CO2 levels within that car. A properly programmed HVAC control system can then use this data to alter the amount of fresh air it provides.
This clever little extrapolation of the data provides each train car with a constantly customised and optimised HVAC energy plan, ensuring that each carriage is only drawing the minimum amount of power that it requires for that exact moment.
In addition, monitoring CO2 has the secondary benefit of providing a form of passenger counting, giving an operator an indication of the usage of their cars at specific periods. Intelligent and inventive use of the data gathered from the many sensors on modern rolling stock is opening the door to a more efficient – and profitable – tomorrow.
Contact OEM Technology Solutions to discuss reducing your HVAC energy consumption.