ABB has received a major order from German railway company Deutsche Bahn for the modernization of its first flagship InterCity Express (ICE 1) high-speed train series. The contract is part of a refurbishment program and includes the refurbishment of 76 high-speed locomotives with ABB's highly energy efficient IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) propulsion converters. Replacing existing power electronics from the 1990s with state-of-the-art propulsion technology will help significantly extend the operational life of the ICE 1 fleet, making it serviceable for at least another ten years.
The drive converter converts the electrical energy from the overhead power line into direct current and the appropriate frequency to drive the drive motors. Selected drive converters are based on ABB's three-level high-power electronics platform, resulting in minimal energy loss, less mechanical stress on existing drive motors and less noise.
The renewal of IGBT technology is an efficient and economical solution that elevates the drive system of trains to the level of modern trains in terms of reliability, energy efficiency and ease of maintenance. As a result, energy savings of at least eight percent are expected, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 5.000 households.
DB Fernverkehr Production Director at Deutsche Bahn, Dr. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with ABB, a competent partner with proven expertise in customized drive solutions,” said Philipp Nagl. ABB propulsion converters were successfully installed in the first batch of 2010 modernized ICE 40 high-speed locomotives in 1. This change resulted in a higher-than-expected reduction in operating costs while delivering significant energy savings. Together with our investments in new energy-efficient wagons and new maintenance facilities, this project marks a new milestone in strengthening our position as a climate-friendly mode of transport.”
“The ICE train fleet is the backbone of Germany's high-speed rail network and we are grateful to Deutsche Bahn for their confidence in our technology,” said Edgar Keller, Head of ABB's Propulsion Systems Division. “The need and demand for more efficient, environmentally friendly and reliable rail travel will increase. With decades of rail experience and the broadest drive system portfolio, ABB is well positioned to help rail operators get the best efficiency and value from their existing systems.”
DB has recently received operating permit from the Eisenbahn-Bundesamt, allowing for converter modernisation. The permit was granted after intensive testing of two refurbished pilot locomotives, marking the start of a landmark project. The renovation with ABB propulsion converters allowed the conversion of the two ICE 1 locomotives to be completed in roughly two weeks, while the entire refurbishment project launched in the third quarter of 2021 is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2023.
ABB is a leading provider of innovative propulsion technologies for transportation, offering a full range of main drive converter, auxiliary drive converter and energy storage system solutions for new vehicles and retrofits. Thus, system operators benefit from drive conversion solutions designed and customized for optimum performance, energy efficiency and minimal operating costs.