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Train Energy Efficiency via Rankine-cycle exhaust Gas heat recovery

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Geo-spatial type
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport electrification (ELT)
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

In Europe today, more than half of the railway network is not electrified. Especially for regional transportation, diesel electric trains (called Diesel Multiple Unit: DMU) are then widely used. ALSTOM will release next year its new regional train called Regiolis. A Regiolis train may use up to 6 diesel engines of 338 kW each, which represent a total onboard power of about 2 MW.


In this context, TRENERGY project aims at evaluating the interest of using a Rankine cycle in order to recover some lost heat and to increase the efficiency of the Diesel power packs.

Rankine-cycle systems (and their derivatives like Organic Rankine Cycles, ORC) have already been investigated in the past for transportation means (train, trucks and more recently cars), but the fact is that up to now they have been mainly used for stationary equipments (power plants, heat recovery for boilers, furnaces and ovens…) or for heavy ships. For lighter transportation means, several scientific and technical bottlenecks still have to be addressed before Rankine systems may represent profitable devices for increasing energy efficiency. This is especially due to the transient behaviour of the heat source that characterises these kinds of application.


TRENERGY will focus on:

  • the selection of the best control approach for an ORC system using a turbine in a varying heat source application, based on the analysis of the impact of component choice on control authority and system controllability, and on the design of a control strategy which can cope with the resulting limitations and make the most of the final architecture;
  • the design of a compact high-efficient low-power turbine, with a robust optimisation of the internal fluid flow, and a strong focus towards high rotational speed, bearing systems and thermal management in order to improve the performance/cost ratio as well as the reliability of the component.;
  • the testing of a more environmentally friendly working fluid than current mediums tested for transportation applications like pentafluoropropane (R245fa) that may be banned in the next years.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Research agency
Institution Name
L'Agence nationale de la recherche (The French National Research Agency)
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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