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PKP Energetyka Develops Polish Railways as Part of Europe's Rail Joint Undertaking Partnership

PKP Energetyka Develops Polish Railways as Part of Europe's Rail Joint Undertaking Partnership
photo: Sektor Kolejowy/PKP Energetyka Develops Polish Railways as Part of Europe's Rail Joint Undertaking Partnership
09 / 02 / 2023

PKP Energetyka has signed a partnership agreement as part of Europe's Rail Joint Undertaking. The value of the projects that will be implemented by the company until 2026 under this initiative is almost EUR 3.4 million, while in the longer term (until 2031), it will be another EUR 5.6 million. Europe's Rail JU partnership creates and sets R&D directions for the rail sector in the Horizon Europe financial perspective from 2021 to 2031.

As part of the project, PKP Energetyka is primarily responsible for the use of energy storage in the railway ecosystem, both in terms of increasing the connectivity of RES sources and supplying the railway with green energy directly. In addition, the aim will be to use the storage to enable the construction and existence at the railway of communities (clusters, cooperatives, hubs, local balancing areas, etc.) that will benefit from green energy and the opportunities offered by the railway.

Preparatory work to build the Polish ecosystem within Europe's Rail Joint Undertaking took two years. On 18 January 2023, an opening meeting was held, at which 17 companies and organisations signed the declaration of partnership in the presence of, among others, MAP deputy minister Maciej Małecki, MEiN deputy minister Wojciech Murdzek, PKP S.A. president Krzysztof Mamiński and deans and professors of scientific units.

The partnership provides funding from the European Commission during the entire Horizon Europe financial perspective. It guarantees the possibility of carrying out research and development work with total eligible costs of almost EUR 20.1 million. These funds will be successively released in three competitions, implemented between 2022 and 2031. PKP Energetyka will receive funding of up to 44.5% of the project amount for its projects worth EUR 9 million.

The aim of the projects for which PKP Energetyka is responsible is, among other things, to verify an energy storage model based on the idea of local cooperation between consumers and generators, to build assumptions and participate in the creation of algorithms for the model, or to launch demonstrators working in PKP Energetyka's distribution network to increase RES generation capacity and improve the efficiency of local energy use.

"One of the planned demonstrators is to confirm the possibility of increasing the connection capacity for RES sources in PKP Energetyka's distribution network using energy storage. The other is to verify the possibility of energy storage cooperating with other elements of the power system on an 'energy hub' basis, reducing network losses and increasing the energy efficiency of the electricity generation, distribution and consumption process." Together with the energy storage facility in Garbce, which has already been in operation for two years, the next storage facilities will form the basis for the construction of approximately 300, profiled and customised, such ecosystems in Poland," explains Piotr Obrycki, Director of the Research and Development Office at PKP Energetyka.

A detailed work schedule for the coming years assumes:

Between 2023 and 2024

  • design of a set of domain algorithms for energy storage as well as the associated infrastructure allowing correct balancing of energy consumption
  • design of an energy management system for storage, including the implementation
  • preparation of requirements and procurement of energy storage units for use in the implementation of the work and pre-testing.

Between 2025 and 2026

  • construction and commissioning of demonstrators in the environment of two traction substations
  • conducting analysis and testing of the solution and acquiring data from the operation of the demonstrators for complementary simulations.

These tasks will be carried out in cooperation with national partners: the Poznań University of Technology, the Railway Institute and the Institute of Innovative Techniques EMAG, with ongoing cooperation also with foreign partners.

As the organisers of the meeting emphasised - tasks supporting ecology, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, closed-loop economy and improvement of energy efficiency associated with increased use of RES to power the railway traction and buildings - are particularly important in this perspective. The work currently being initiated also involves developing interface standards for hydrogen refuelling by railway vehicles and ensuring the safety of this process.

Participating in the ecosystem are, besides PKP Energetyka: PKP S.A., AGH University of Science and Technology, Centralny Port Komunikacyjny sp. z o.o., Infrabyte sp. z o.o, Instytut Badawczy Dróg i Mostów (POLTRIN Network), Instytut Elektrotechniki (Łukasiewicz Research Network), Instytut Kolejnictwa (POLTRIN Network), Warszawski Instytut Technologiczny (Łukasiewicz Research Network), Instytut Technik Innowacyjnych EMAG (Łukasiewicz Research Network), Łódzka Kolej Aglomeracyjna sp. z o.o, Ignacy Mościcki State Vocational University in Ciechanów, PKP Informatyka sp. z o.o., Poznan University of Technology, Poznan Institute of Technology (Łukasiewicz Research Network), International Union of Railways (UIC) and the Jarosław Dąbrowski Military University of Technology in Warsaw.

Source: PKP Energetyka