The TH Interview: Oliver Hauck, President and CEO of Siemens Transportation Systems
It may not sound as cool as paint-on solar cells or look as sexy as Tesla's Roadster, but Siemens' Sitras SES, an energy storage technology used in mass transit networks, may just outlast them both and. Moreover, unlike the aforementioned technologies, Sitras SES has already been successfully installed in Europe and China and will soon be coming to Sacramento's Regional Transit District (RT) System.
Oliver Hauck, the president and CEO of Siemens Transportation Systems, has claimed that this technology will break new ground in mass transit by simultaneously "saving on energy use, providing voltage stabilization, improving service reliability, and lowering operational costs and maintenance." We recently had the chance to sit down and talk with Hauck, who has served in that capacity over the last six years following a long and fruitful career that began in 1982:
TreeHugger: How long has this technology been in development?
Oliver Hauck: A little over ten years.
TH: Aside from helping conserve energy, what are some other benefits of this technology?
OH: The Sitras SES technology can be summed as one principle with two operating modes: As a voltage stabilizer, its energy content is constantly kept at a high level and it discharges when the system voltage falls below a specified limit. In energy saving modem it absorbs the energy generated by braking vehicles and stores it until the storage unit can feed it back into the power supply system at a later point when vehicles are accelerating. The system can switch automatically between these two operating modes so that it can adapt perfectly to the prevailing operational requirements.
TH: What other mass transit networks in Europe and China are using this?
OH: Cities that are using this technology include Madrid, Spain; Cologne, Dresden and Bochum (Germany); and Peking, China.
TH: What are some of the environmental benefits of high speed rail networks?
OH: In the high-speed sector, our Velaro E - which now runs in Spain - is the fastest series production train-set in the world. And extremely efficient at that: It runs 120 miles per gallon per seat - at speeds of up to 220 mile per hour. That shows: Such high-speed rail routes are faster, more convenient - and more environmentally compatible - than planes.
In European terms, the Velaro is fast and thrifty: Velaro consumes the equivalent of only 2 liters per seat over 100 km. Velaro, the third generation of our high-speed multiple unit trains, was designed right from the start with sustainability in mind. This platform not only ensures purely optimal energy usage and meets the specified performance
requirement, it also features ecologically optimized systems and components.
Its converted energy consumption is equal to only 2 liters of gasoline per occupied seat over 100 km at 50% passenger load, but that is only one aspect among many. Take the floors, for example, we use wood from sustainable forestry instead of composite materials. The air-conditioning systems run on environmentally friendly, non-ozone-damaging coolants. We have found an environment-friendly alternative to mineral oil for cooling the transformer on the Velaro E, for instance, and generally do not use materials, tools and substances that pose a risk to human health and the environment.
This train will convince you in every respect: over 160 train-sets sold, a considerably lower environmental impact during production, operation and later during recycling. And, of course, an unforgettable ride for up to 604 passengers at a speed of 350 km/h. The Velaro is currently running in Spain. Russia and China have also ordered the Velaro.
TH: What has been the response to your high speed rail networks and energy storing technology? Will you be bringing it to other U.S. cities?
OH: Many find Siemens' high speed rail networks impressive as well as our energy storing technology. When the U.S. is ready to implement high speed rail again, we'd be happy to provide it. We are only in the beginning stages with energy storing technology on light rail in the U.S. but we do hope to bring it to other cities that are interested in
TH: What are your company's goals for the coming year? Do you have any other clean energy technologies in the pipeline?
OH: Growth and bringing complete mobility solutions to help build America's transportation infrastructure. Green mobility solutions are being implemented globally, Sitras SES is one of the first aside from light rail vehicles and diesel multiple unit trains to come to the U.S.