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DCL and DB test passenger comfort innovations


THE German Aerospace Center (DLR) and DB Systemtechnik (DB ST) signed a cooperation agreement for the Dirk project on March 19, which is developing a test vehicles to support innovations in passenger comfort and air conditioning.

The partners will convert a series 802.09 ICE car into a laboratory to test air conditioning and explore technologies to improve passenger wellbeing and reduce the energy use of air conditioning. In the spring of 2020, the Dirk test car will undergo operational tests at DB ST’s site in Minden, North Rhine-Westphalia, including in DB ST’s climatic chamber for rail vehicles.

The project is aiming to find ways to provide pleasant temperatures in both summer and winter, higher air quality, individual comfort zones, energy-efficient ventilation concepts and improved acoustics.

Scientists from the DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology in Göttingen are using sensor technology to measure air pressure, temperature, humidity and the speed of the air flow inside the train. Passenger dummies that give off heat are used during the tests, as passengers can be a major thermal source. Lasers and smoke will also measure and visualise air flow in the vehicle.

“The strengthening of rail transport as a competitive mode of transport is an important component of the traffic revolution,” says Professor Karsten Lemmer, DLR board member for energy and traffic research. “With this partnership, we can make train travel even more relaxed, thus strengthening the train as a comfortable alternative to a car or plane.”

“With the Dirk demonstrator, we can analyse innovations for passenger comfort and air-conditioning much more efficiently, and thus implement them faster and more directly,” says DB ST managing director, Mr Christoph Kirschinger. “This is unique in the rail sector and with the DLR research centre we have the ideal partner for this purpose.”