Transformer-less power solution for railway

Paul Boughton

GE’s Power Conversion business has signed a contract with Deutsche Bahn – DB Energie GmbH to supply a conversion station at its Lohsa substation.

The new station will use an advanced transformer-less solution on the railway side, together with direct feed to the catenary (overhead lines) from three static frequency converters.

GE’s solution will help provide DB Energie with higher conversion efficiency at a lower cost.

“To keep trains running on time, the rail system requires a reliable supply of energy. GE’s converter technology supports our focus to provide efficiency and reliability to our customers,” says Peter Treige, head of Power System Planning at DB Energie. “GE has a proven track record of designing and developing system inverter plants capable of converting the energy from a public grid to a level required for the railway-operated grid. We have worked with GE on projects connected to the DB system in Lehrte, Aschaffenburg, Cologne and Mannheim, and the project at Lohsa will see our relationship break new ground as we use existing technology in a new way.“

The new project at Lohsa will directly feed into the 15 kV catenary or overhead lines from GE’s three static frequency converters (SFC), together with a transformer-less solution on the railway side. Here GE provides a decentral converter station in Germany. This project is a necessary step for the merging of the railway connection between Poland and Germany within the EU. GE provides for DB Energy central converter stations as well as decentral solutions.

Central converter stations feed into the central network 110 kV /16.7Hz. The central grid also feeds the 15kV overhead lines. Decentral converter stations feed directly into the 15kV overhead lines and are necessary where the central network is not available.

DB Energie is the full service energy manager for Deutsche Bahn AG, Germany’s largest power consumer, including about 20,000km of electrical railway. Germany’s electric rail system uses a frequency of 16.7Hz, which must be converted for use from the public grid, which operates on a frequency of 50 Hz.

“What makes this project with DB Energie all the more exciting is the evolution of our technology to deliver a new application for our converter technology,” says Stephan Krämer, Power Generation business leader at GE’s Power Conversion. “It’s satisfying to work with a customer over time, to see the benefits achieved together and to work on innovative solutions that continue to bring benefits, in this case to improve the overall efficiency and reliability of the Deutsche Bahn railway system.”

GE will supply three static frequency converters, transformers and cooling systems, along with engineering, development and training for the system. The company will work with Balfour Beatty Rail (BB Rail), which will be responsible for civil works, buildings, cabling, switchgear equipment and complete SCADA system. Construction on the station is expected to begin


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