Hallam researchers embark on project to improve efficiency of UK’s national rail network

28th January 2021

Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University have started work on a two-year project to improve the resilience and efficiency of the UK’s national rail network.

The £50,000 project is one of 19 new Industrial Fellowships awarded by the Royal Academy of Engineering to drive technological improvements in transport on land, sea and in the air.

The Industrial Fellowships aim to strengthen links between universities and industry and to encourage new collaborations.

Senior lecturer in electronic engineering, Dr Leonid Shpanin, will lead the project in partnership with UK switchgear and circuit breakers manufacturing company, Brush Switchgear.

He will also collaborate with Professor Joseph Spencer, Emeritus Professor Gordon Jones and Professor Joseph Yan in the department of electrical engineering and electronics at the University of Liverpool.

Together, they will work to develop the next generation of direct current circuit breakers used on the national rail network.

Dr Leonid Shpanin, senior lecturer in electronic engineering at Sheffield Hallam University said: “The aim of this project is to address the technical challenge of extinguishing large current faults or short circuits on UK railways, ultimately providing more reliable and resilient electric power delivery across the network.”

“I’m excited to be working with Brush Switchgear who are the only manufacturer of this kind of circuit breaker in the UK.”

Dr Raul Montano, product lifecycle management director at Brush Switchgear said: “We are honoured to embark in this collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University and Liverpool University addressing energy efficiency in the rail industry, a key element to achieve the net zero goals.”

Prof Joseph Spencer, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Liverpool said:We are pleased to support Dr Shpanin with our knowledge and experience in circuit breaker simulation and testing to make this project a success.”

“We believe that the use of digital tools, such as simulation, supports the industrial drive toward the goals of Industry 4.0.”

The project is expected to finish in September 2022.

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