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Cost-benefit analysis for regenerative energy storage in metro

Xiang Li (School of Economics and Management, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, China)
Ziyou Gao (School of Traffic and Transportation, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing, China)

Chinese Management Studies

ISSN: 1750-614X

Publication date: 3 April 2017



Regenerative braking is an efficient energy saving technology in urban rail system, in which the recovery energy from braking trains is collected by some equipments and released to accelerating trains when needed. However, the high cost and low lifetime of storage devices prevent the widespread use of this technology. The purpose of this paper is to conduct thorough cost-benefit analysis to facilitate China’s urban rail companies to make decisions on the use of such technology.


To evaluate the benefit from regenerative energy storage, the authors formulate an improved integrated scheduling and speed control model to calculate the net energy consumption associated with different energy recovery rates and then define the benefit as the amount of energy saving arising from the usage of storage equipments. With the frequent charge/discharge operations on storage equipments, the energy recovery rate generally decreases which lowers the benefit, but the maintenance cost increases. By trading-off benefit and cost, the authors derive the optimal scrapping time, the maximum profit and the profitability condition for storage devices.


Simulation studies based on the Beijing Metro Yizhuang Line of China are given. The results show that compared with the current timetable and speed profile, the integrated scheduling and speed control approach with energy recovery rate of 0.5 can reduce the net energy consumption by 12.69 per cent; the net energy consumption can be well approximated as a linear function of energy recovery rate; and the maximum profit and the optimal scrapping time on regenerative energy storage devices are both positively related to the electricity price. The allowance proportion and the number of service trains such that busy lines with higher electricity price or allowance proportion have advantages to use the regenerative energy storage devices.

Research limitations/implications

In this work, a linear energy recovery rate and a linear maintenance cost are used in the cost-benefit analysis process. In future research, the more accurate expressions on energy recovery rate and maintenance cost should be considered if more data on recovery rate and maintenance cost can be gathered.


The main values of this paper are to develop the integrated optimization approaches for train scheduling and speed control and, on this basis, make thorough cost-benefit analysis for regenerative energy storage to improve the operations management of urban rail transit.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos 71371027, 71621001), and Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University under Grant No. NCET-13-0649.


Li, X. and Gao, Z. (2017), "Cost-benefit analysis for regenerative energy storage in metro", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 19-34.



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