Engineers at the University of Sheffield have been given £1.5 million to explore the possibility of drawing energy from electric cars parked at stations to power the railway at peak times.
Named the TransEnergy project, the scheme will see if it is feasible to use electric car batteries to store surplus energy which could then be used by the railway during busy periods – what it describes as a “Road to Rail energy exchange”.
The funding is being provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The University of Sheffield will work in partnership with the the University of Leeds, the University of Southampton and Network Rail.
Dr Martin Foster, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, said: “Electric-powered rail travel has helped to reduce pollution and improve the comfort of travellers.
“Our project will look at how we can meet the demand for more electricity on our railways by investigating innovative ways to store surplus energy.
“Similar energy storage systems are already being used on the electricity grid during peak times and by translating these to our railways, we could deliver real benefits to both rail companies and consumers, bringing down the costs of travel and improving services.”
James Ambrose, principal engineer for Network Rail, said: “Network Rail is committed to electrifying more lines in the UK. Our project will be working with rail providers to recommend new approaches that will mean increased efficiency for the industry.”