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KERS for Trains?

KERS F1 technology could be introduced to the next generation of trains on the London Underground network, after Tube engineers were 'amazed' by the potential of the system following a visit to Williams F1.

According to Professional Engineering, KERS technology could potentially be adapted to power trains over complex sections of track, such as point crossings.

“On a recent visit to Williams Racing, I was amazed at the potential of the flywheel systems they were looking at, “PE quotes London Underground's head of Train System Engineering, Malcolm Dobell, as saying.

“We are looking at this from the point of view of a train mounted enginery recovery system. I'm quite agnostic as to whether it would be flywheel, supercapacitors or battery technology.”

However, Dobell has concerns about safety.

“I've got to be clear about what would happen if the system, for some reason, decided to give up all its energy in one go: say if the flywheel decided to fail, or the supercapacitors or battery decided to short-circuit. Where would that energy go in the tight confines of a Tube tunnel?” he asked

But whilst the FIA might be delighted that F1 KERS technology, as they had hoped, could filter down to such mainstream applications, a separate article in PE warns that other recent F1 rule changes will 'hurt innovation'.

“We are not in the business of criticizing the FIA, but our view is that experimental innovation is much less likely to happen in the future,” said Rick Delbridge of the Advanced Institute for Management Research, which produced a 'Racing for Radical Innovation' report.

The report states that motorsport rules have become increasingly strict and constrained technology development as a result. One example given is the banning of certain materials for safety reasons.


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