MyRails: a European project to reduce emissions of rail transport

It has been estimated that the energy absorbed by the European rail network amounts to 36.5 terawatt hours each year. Considering the considerable quantity of emissions due to the use of so much energy, the European Union has set itself an important objective: to reduce the CO2 generated by the railway system by 50% by 2030. It is therefore of fundamental importance to develop a system that allows accurately measure the energy exchange between trains and the railway network in order to optimize consumption.

This is how MyRails was born, the European project aimed at making the energy consumption of railways and subways more efficient.


© MyRails website


The INRIM (National Metrological Research Institute in Italy) is the leader of a group of 16 partners, including Trenitalia, Rfi and metros in Madrid and London, which are working to develop systems aimed at recovering and accumulating part of the energy produced by the trains in service.

One of these systems is called Kers (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and is already used in Formula 1. It is an apparatus mounted on board the train capable of accumulating the energy generated by the vehicle during braking. Another, instead, sees the use of so-called bidirectional substations: accumulators placed below the tracks that store the energy generated by the train during stops at the station that would otherwise be dissipated in the form of heat.



As explained by the project coordinator, Domenico Giordano, the most critical issues in terms of energy efficiency concern regional rail transport rather than high-speed lines. With the application of these two technologies, in the next few years it could be possible to save 11% to 20% of the electricity consumed by the European railway network each year, a figure that can be quantified as around 400 million euros a year and 2 million euros tons less emissions.

The MyRails project, funded under Horizon 2020, the European program for research and innovation, and Euramet, the international network of metrological centers, will last three years, during which the Trenitalia lines will be subject to surveys and analyzes. The research will thus make it possible to quantify the actual energy consumption of the railways which, starting this year, will pay the management companies the consumption noted instead of a flat rate as was the case up to the first.

16 partners operating in the railway sector met to achieve the green goals set by the EU for 2030. MyRails is on the way