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Toward better tunnel construction project pollution control

​CEA Tech institute Liten recently dimensioned, selected, and tested the components—including the battery—for a complete train on tires for tunnel construction projects. A prototype of the electric-powered train will be tested with Métalliance this fall.

Published on 7 November 2016

Trains that roll on tires are used in tunnel construction projects to carry tunnel lining segments, mortar hoppers, and other large, heavy items. The trains are generally diesel-powered, and job sites must occasionally be shut down due to the resulting pollution—costing time and money. Métalliance, a company that designs and builds industrial equipment, turned to Liten to develop an electric-powered train that would reduce job-site-pollution-related shutdowns.

Liten had to overcome a number of challenges, starting with the battery pack, which had to be able to withstand dust, vibration, and heat while meeting particularly stringent safety requirements. Liten researchers decided to integrate electric motors into each wheel. They also opted to power each vehicle with two 45 kWh battery packs, one per axle. "The advantage of our modular design is that it lets the train keep operating safely even in the event of a malfunction affecting one battery pack, guaranteeing the uptime these job sites require," said a Liten researcher.

Each battery pack is built from 26 commercially-available modules connected in series to power each axle's two 60 kW electric motors.

Métalliance's electric prototype was presented at the world's largest tunnel trade fair, the World Tunnel Congress (WTC) in San Francisco, where it was well received. Stay tuned for upcoming news on this latest advance!

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