Keeping on track: lead batteries support EU rail travel  

Keeping on track: lead batteries support EU rail travel  

During the Year of the Rail, lead batteries support the trains powering ahead.

By: Dr. Bernhard Riegel, Director of Research Development, HOPPECKE Batterien GmbH & Co. KG

2021 has been designated the European Commission’s European Year of the Rail to draw attention to the “sustainable, innovative and safe” nature of train travel.

With the rise of the ‘green consumer’, and behaviour changes arising from the impact of the pandemic, passengers are considering train travel as a more sustainable alternative to flying.

Trains can be a competitive and environmentally friendly alternative to flying for international travel. A recent survey shows that 22% of Europeans would be prepared to fly less because of climate concerns and several rail operators have started to revive overnight sleepers – most recently from Vienna to Brussels.

Lead batteries are still the most widely used technology in Central Europe for supplying power to the onboard electrical systems of trains. At moderate temperatures they combine low maintenance requirements, reliability and low lifecycle costs. In many European trains, lead batteries are used to protect onboard power supply systems. Whether they provide emergency power supply for passenger cars, start the diesel engine for diesel locomotives or are used for direct drive, lead batteries play an essential role for rail.

Concerning the global rail power market, we see good growth potential. Hoppecke provides battery systems for a range of train operating companies. As well as providing sustainable travel options, the rail sector makes a substantial contribution to the EU economy, directly employing 577,000 people across passenger and freight operations and supporting track and station infrastructure.

As well as being an essential onboard component of trains, lead batteries provide uninterrupted power to hospitals, provide back-up to telecoms and stabilise grids, backing up renewable energy supplies. These are just a few examples of some of the many ways that lead batteries power our everyday lives and contribute to Europe’s low carbon future.

Read more for how lead batteries will power the 5G revolution.

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