Urban mobility in the French city of Brest has been boosted by two cable cars carrying up to 60 people who travel more than 400 meters above the River Penfeld, with a power consumption that is potentially close to zero. Supported by Leroy-Somer, the companies Bartholet France and Seirel are behind this achievement which is a world first in terms of technology.
Brest Métropole wants to refocus the city over the banks of the River Penfeld. The cable car system is aimed at strengthening the trade links between both sides of the river. With a range of 420 meters it links the city centre with the new Capucins district, which has been built on 16 hectares of former military grounds.
One of the challenges posed by Brest Métropole involved implementing a solution with low power consumption. The idea was therefore to recover the braking energy, but the energy operators have not yet systematically developed the full potential for reinjection of current into their network.
The legislative framework provides for this, for solar energy production for instance, but certainly does not do this when the system consumes and reinjects current over very short cycles, as is the case in Brest. The solution therefore consisted in storing energy in super capacity batteries when the cable cars are descending, in order to then reuse this energy for the subsequent ascent.
The project was awarded to Bartholet France for the cable car system, and to Seirel, an expert in electrical equipment and safety automation, for the transportation via cable. The heart of the system, i.e. the drive for the traction cables, a DC converter enables management of the operations for the M65V385F super capacitors developed by Blue Solutions.
The super capacitors have been specially designed to meet the needs of industrial applications requiring high power ratings. Meeting the most demanding functional specifications, they charge and discharge in just a few seconds and provide service lives of several hundred thousand cycles.
In the event of network loss, an emergency mode using an electric generator with a LSA 44.3 low voltage alternator, enables the cable cars to be returned to the stations. Safety has been reviewed right down to the last detail in order to ensure protection against any eventualities.
“This is the first time a cable car system has included an energy recovery solution with batteries. This achievement is a direct reflection of our company, which is able to position itself on more complex engineering projects, and will no doubt be an inspiration for other projects around the globe”, explains Nicolas Chapuis, Managing Director at Bartholet France.
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