Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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An electric power supply system for tunnels

Accounting for electricityCogeneration plantsGenerator setPrivate power gridTunnel power supply


The invention consists in the use of a generating unit powered by a cogenerative thermal motor for the electric power supply of the tunnel. This solution avoids the use of a diesel generating set used only when the power supply to the public power supply fails and is therefore switched off under normal operating conditions.

Technical features

The invention consists in installing a natural gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) power plant near a tunnel. Under normal operating conditions, it feeds the electric tunnel users and exchanges electricity with the public network and with any private neighboring networks. In addition, it can feed any adjacent thermal utilities. In the event of a public network failure, it is able to feed the priority loads of the tunnel and, if necessary, meet the needs of the private network. It is thus possible to comply with current security regulations that require redundancy in the power supply of a tunnel avoiding the installation of a generator that would be inactive for the most part of the time and the consequent continuity group (UPS) necessary to feed the users during the emergency generator start-up transient.

Possible Applications

  • Tunnel motorway;
  • Tunnel with presence of luminaires.


  • Eliminating the inactive generator unit under normal operating conditions;
  • Eliminating the continuity groups;
  • Reduction of maintenance costs of the generator;
  • Production of thermal and electric energy through cogenerative technologies;
  • Revenues from the sale of electricity and thermal energy.