Liebherr-Transportation Systems supplies the air conditioning system for the Siemens’ latest generation ICE 3 (2nd production batch) high-speed train operated by German National Railways Deutsche Bahn (DB).
This high profile train operates in particular on the recently built Rhine-Main high speed line. DB ordered 13 trains of the type. Liebherr delivered the equipment for these trains between 2003 and 2005. The scope of supply covers the air conditioning units and the heating as well as the ducting system.
The ICE 3 is the first serial production train to be equipped with Liebherr-Transportation Systems’ cutting-edge eco-friendly technology for air conditioning of railway vehicles – the air cycle air conditioning system. The ICE 3 high speed trains have been in service for several years now and have demonstrated that this future-proof technology derived from Liebherr’s aerospace branch is superior to traditional vapour cycle air conditioning concepts in terms of eco-friendliness and life-cycle costs.
Liebherr’s air cycle air conditioning system simply uses clean air as refrigerant providing a comfortable climate to passengers. This air expands and thus cools. The air runs through the air conditioner and subsequently returns to ambient. When developing the system, Liebherr took advantage from its long-term experience in the aircraft industry: air cycle air conditioning systems made by Liebherr have been installed on board of numerous aircraft already.
The system for application in rail vehicles is compliant to UIC 553 and – as a real alternative to chemical refrigerants helps to reduce greenhouse warming impact according to world wide HFC regulations. As the system does not use any other refrigerant than clean air, there is no risk of leakage and the compliance with any future legislation regarding refrigerants in air conditioning systems is absolute and unlimited.
Liebherr’s air cycle air conditioning technology features significantly reduced lifecycle-costs compared to common vapour cycle systems. Life-cycle costs of common air conditioning systems consist of several items, the most significant of which being the direct maintenance on the system, unscheduled vehicle downtime due to system failure, spare part administration and power consumption. Additional operating costs related to the refrigerant circuit such as refrigerant handling and disposal, or retrofit of refrigerant in order to comply with future regulations, or refrigerant emptying as well as refilling times also contribute to the high life-cycle costs of traditional technologies, increasing the attractiveness of the air cycle technology.
The reliability of Liebherr’s air cycle air conditioning system helps to save direct maintenance costs and leads to considerably reduced vehicle downtimes. In case of necessary maintenance and repair the reduced parts count of the system and the simplified accessibility guarantee an efficient, time-saving service. Maintenance doesn’t require anymore trained and certified (EG 303/2008) refrigerant personal. Furthermore, no storage, handling and future accounting of refrigerant on site are necessary anymore.
Liebherr’s air cycle air conditioning systems consist of four main components only, which contributes to a minimized failure potential: Supply air fans for air movement, a motorized air cycle machine / cooling turbine, a heat exchanger and an electric heating system for heating the cold outside air when required by using resistive heating elements. The entire arrangement of the system is optimized for lowest internal pressure losses, light weight and high levels of efficiency.