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Aerodynamic resistance and energy efficiency on trains of the Empresa de Transporte Masivo del Valle de Aburrá Limitada

Scientific Articles

1. Aerodynamic resistance and energy efficiency on trains of the Empresa de Transporte Masivo del Valle de Aburrá Limitada
2. METRO and its technological learning process
3. Innovation with Social Impact

Under the Integrated Management System of Mass Transport Company Aburrá Valley Limited, financial sustainability is a corporate objective that seeks to maximize firm value by increasing profitability. Similarly, the company is committed to optimizing energy resource, thus defined its environmental commitment and expressed in its program of efficiency and energy savings, and with the use of clean technologies in their modes. To achieve a reduction in energy consumption of the system in finding transcended corporate goals and prompted the study of the aerodynamics of trains, being the largest consumer of energy in the system.

Keywords: energy efficiency, aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics (CFD, for its acronym in English).
Increasing energy efficiency has become a growing global need, given the energy and environmental crisis that we are currently experiencing. The transport sector is significant in that crisis, and our company, which is the main input power, has a social responsibility to improve day by day in this aspect. In 2011, electricity consumption METRO system was 68 GWh, of which 80% correspond to traction energy consumption. The annual cost of the energy consumption of the entire system was $ 15,031,355,535, which gives us the challenge of reducing energy consumption of trains, which is the most significant in the energy balance of the company.

Since Mass Transport Company Aburrá Valley Limited receives no government subsidy, self-sustaining with the ticket price paid by users, and the huge debt you have, any energy savings would impact positively not only finances the company but would also stabilize the price of the tickets, which would result in quality of life for the community.

With the support of Colciencias through cofinancing, and in partnership with the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, the company has been developing the research project "Increasing energy efficiency and user comfort in Medellin Metro, computational fluid simulation "which seeks to reduce energy consumption of the train, studying its aerodynamics and proposing changes that help reduce air friction on it.

It should be noted that this study used simulations of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), a novel technique in our environment, facilitating the study of the current state of the aerodynamics of trains, to understand where they were the main points to improve in less time and less cost. Then, using the same tool, different configurations were tested bodyends front, aimed at fulfilling the objective.

Here are evaluated experimentally studied changes in the simulations, using a scale model, which was a wind tunnel at the University Pontificia Bolivariana, in order to validate the results of qualitative simulation.

Defined the specific details of the new front end wall and taking into account applicable international standards, we proceeded to the manufacture of full scale prototypes, for testing in trains. Tests allowed not only validate the simulation results, it showed that there is a potential for energy savings that enables the development of a second phase of the project, to extend the time of evaluation and possibly increase the number of modified units.

After making the financial evaluation of the project found that it is feasible to implement the new front end carriages on all trains first generation, but it requires a significant capital investment. Currently resources are managed to perform a validation operation Longer prototype, in order to verify the information and operating conditions with passenger load. The proposal in this regard is raised and optimization process and implementation.

The idea behind these new modes puts us at the forefront of the metropolis and, as already mentioned, requires us to find the best alternative technologies to achieve energy efficiency of the system.

This project, the first in the world for urban trains, is a sign not only of the potential benefits of working together University-Industry-State, but the existence of national capacities to achieve relevance and impact results for our industry.

In the 80s, a time of which are our first generation trains, railway operators were not limited by energy consumption, but current needs have changed so that the purchase of new trains and in line with design best practices that currently employ manufacturers, result was achieved not only energy efficient, but also aesthetically pleasing.