Politehnica University Timisoara

An innovative project developed by a UPT team could revolutionize public transportation

An innovative project developed by a UPT team could revolutionize public transportation

An innovative project developed by a UPT team could revolutionize public transportation

16 February 2024






An innovative project developed by a research team from Politehnica University Timisoara could revolutionize public transportation through the use of supercapacitors in public transport vehicles, allowing for rapid charging in a few seconds at stations. The project was recently awarded in the "NETZEROCITIES 2023" competition, organized by the National Center for Competences and Solutions for the development of climate-neutral smart cities, affiliated with the POLITEHNICA University of Bucharest.

The competition included submissions on the following topics:

1. Climate-Neutral Governance

2. Sustainable Energy and Environment

3. Smart and Sustainable Buildings

4. Smart Mobility and Infrastructures

5. Smart Campus and Digital Twins

Politehnica University Timisoara participated in the competition under category 4 with the project "Supercapacitor City Minibus Propulsion System," developed within the "Intelligent Control of Energy Conversion and Storage" Research Center, integrated into the Institute for Renewable Energy Research (ICER), scientifically coordinated by the UPT Department of Electrical Engineering. The work was ranked second overall.

The project team consisted of the youngest representatives of the Department of Electrical Engineering: Lecturer Dr. Eng. Dan Hulea, Ph.D. (coordinator), Ass. Prof. Dr. Eng. Adrian Martin, Ph.D., Ph.D. student Eng. Dănuţ Vitan, Ph.D. student Eng. Mihăiţă Gireadă, and student Florian Baboș.

The project addresses a modern concept of electric energy storage in public transport vehicles, using supercapacitors with the possibility of rapid charging at stations, allowing for a significantly higher number of charge-discharge cycles (with a superior lifespan) compared to traditional batteries.

Additionally, for electric traction, an innovative engine was proposed, utilizing reduced quantities of scarce materials (rare-earth permanent magnets).

Technical specifications for the transport vehicle: a total weight of 7 tons, a capacity of 28 passengers, an electric motor power of 100 kW, 8.5 kWh storage capacity in supercapacitors, and a charging time (25-100%) of 1 minute.

The simulation of operation (at a 1:1 scale) was carried out considering the Timisoara trolleybus line 16, covering a distance of 4.2 km with 7 stations, with supercapacitor charging required only at the endpoints.

Integration was performed in a laboratory experimental stand at a 1:20 scale, comprising all necessary components: the storage system, electric motor, power electronics with a special configuration, drive control, and system management. Various scenarios in urban transport were simulated using electric traction minibuses.

The obtained results confirmed the feasibility of the proposal, with the project aiming to share the results with local authorities as an alternative to current trends in expanding electric urban public transport.


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