Reducing fuel consumption and related emissions through optimal sizing of energy storage systems for diesel-electric trains

Marko Kapetanović*, Alfredo Núñez, Niels van Oort, Rob M.P. Goverde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


Hybridization of diesel multiple unit railway vehicles is an effective approach to reduce fuel consumption and related emissions in regional non-electrified networks. This paper is part of a bigger project realized in collaboration with Arriva, the largest regional railway undertaking in the Netherlands, to identify optimal solutions in improving trains’ energy and environmental performance. A significant problem in vehicle hybridization is determining the optimal size for the energy storage system, while incorporating an energy management strategy as well as technical and operational requirements. With the primary requirement imposed by the railway undertaking to achieve emission-free and noise-free operation within railway stations, we formalize this as a bi-level multi-objective optimization problem, including vehicle performance, the trade-off between fuel savings and hybridization cost, influence of the energy management strategy, and other constraints. By deriving a Li-ion battery parameters at the cell level, a nested coordination framework is employed, where a brute force search finds the optimal battery size using dynamic programming for full controller optimization for each feasible solution. In this way, the global minimum for fuel consumption for each battery configuration is achieved. The results from a Dutch case study demonstrated fuel savings and CO2 emission reduction of more than 34% compared to a standard vehicle. Additionally, benefits in terms of local pollutants (NOx and PM) emissions are observed. Using an alternative sub-optimal rule-based control demonstrated a significant impact of the energy management on the results, reflected in higher fuel consumption and increased battery size together with corresponding costs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117018
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Battery sizing
  • Bi-level optimization
  • Energy management strategy
  • Fuel consumption
  • Hybrid diesel multiple units
  • Hybridization cost


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