Research Project Summary Information
High Speed Electrical Insulator Cleaner for New York City Transit System(15798)
Stray-current leakage from dirty or corroded third-rail insulators causes many problems, including wasted electrical energy, potential for fires and galvanic corrosion/damage to nearby infrastructure. Under Transportation Research Board (TRB) funding, the Contractor, MINI LLC, has developed an initial prototype of a third-rail insulator cleaner that would help reduce these problems. The original prototype device used large amounts of water and would require five seconds to clean a single insulator, making the cleaning process slower than desired. The proposer has also performed a NYSERDA-funded analytical and experimental study in conjunction with NYC Transit (NYCT) subway personnel, which projected that the NYC subway loses upwards of 21,000 MWh annually through stray-current leakage around their third-rail insulators. The company has conceptualized a new design that promises to overcome the disadvantages of the original prototype and has attained funding commitments from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to continue development. The new design will require less water, and clean in less time than the first model, increasing its frequency and ease of use.
The objectives of the project are to design and fabricate a prototype of an overall insulator-cleaning system, and demonstrate the new system at a designated NYCT or alternative Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) test track. This project is a multi-task project, with the initial task comprising an FTA-funded prototype design and fabrication effort for an advanced version of the Contractor’s cleaning head. This task of the project comprises a significant portion of the Contractor’s cost sharing. The remaining project tasks, focus on designing and integrating the cleaner-head prototype into an overall-cleaning system, complete with high- pressure water-pump system and hi-rail service vehicle. Subsequently, the system will be tested at a designated rail site of the MTA, initially planned for a test track at NYCT.
Reduction of insulator failures supports the ongoing safe and reliable operation of the MTA mass-transit system. The system will help reduce energy loss (saving up to 21 thousand MWh) and stray energy that can cause corrosion damage to nearby infrastructure, as well as lead to improved energy efficiency and corresponding reduction of emissions.
7710 Bradley Blvd.
Bethesda, MD 20817
NYSERDA Contact Information
R&D -Transport & Power Systems