Rolls-Royce Power Systems is to commence manufacture of its first order for MTU power packs that are prepared for future use as hybrid traction units.
Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail has ordered 41 of these MTU Hybrid-ready PowerPacks, fitted with MTU 6H 1800 R86 engines that comply with the EU Stage V emissions directives. Each delivers 375kW from the diesel engine as well as 150kW from the integrated electrical motor.
Delivery is to commence in 2021, and the PowerPacks are to power Class 22000 trains on scheduled services from late 2022.
At a later, yet to be decided, stage, Rolls-Royce could equip these PowerPacks with batteries, turning them into fully-fledged MTU Hybrid PowerPacks.
The order is a further milestone in the partnership between Rolls-Royce and Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail. This currently includes refurbishing the fleet with new transmissions and testing both conventional EU Stage V and hybrid traction systems from 2021. Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail also plans to introduce into service further MTU Hybrid PowerPacks in the future.
Peter Smyth, chief mechanical engineer at Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, said: “Reducing the exhaust emissions of our trains is a key part of our commitment to sustainability and to the strategic ‘Ireland 2040’ project, and with Rolls-Royce we have the right traction partner on board to help us do that.”
Jürgen Blassmann, head of rail business at Rolls-Royce Power Systems, said: “We are delighted to be playing this pioneering role with our strategic partner Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail in shaping the future of environmentally friendly rail transport. The series production MTU traction systems we are now supplying set new standards for cleanliness, reliability and fuel economy.
“Following conversion to MTU Hybrid PowerPacks, Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail will use these drive systems to make fuel savings of over 30%, depending on the route, also reducing CO2 emissions by the same amount.”
A total of 234 MTU PowerPacks have been powering the Class 22000 trains for many years. In 2018, the partners agreed to refurbish MTU PowerPacks with new transmissions to achieve fuel savings of almost 20 per cent.
That same year, Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail announced its intention to trial MTU PowerPacks for the EU Stage V emissions standard. In a second step, these are now to be converted to Hybrid PowerPacks starting next year. Trials of the EU Stage V PowerPacks are scheduled to get underway this August, following which all nine PowerPacks will be converted to Hybrid PowerPacks and commence operation at the end of 2021.
Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail will also explore options to convert its fleet to hybrid operation at a later stage once the test runs have been successfully completed.
Image above: Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail Class 22000 train.