Posts tagged ‘electric trains’

July 25, 2013

Solar Trains

Solar-powered cars are known to be widely tested but it may not be common knowledge that there are already a number of trains all around the world that get their energy from the sun.

In Belgium, 16,000 photovoltaic panels are installed on top of a 2.1 mile long rail tunnel, which power about 4000 trains. Electricity consumption of these trains fell by 30 per cent thanks to this development.

Solar tunnel in Belgium

Solar tunnel in Belgium

Also, in India there are two solar trains in operation: The Himalayan Queen and the Shivalik Express are both diesel trains featuring solar panels on their roofs. The Himalayan Queen is fully powered by the solar panels and it can run for two days without sun. Inside lighting on both trains is LED lights and offer solar charging sockets for travellers. By installing solar panels The Shivalik Express has also become significantly lighter and so it consumes less diesel than previously.

Italy’s PVTRAIN project uses the electricity generated by solar panels to power air conditioning, safety systems as well as lights.

Some short-distance trains are also completely solar-energy-powered. In Norwalk, USA at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children a Solar Train offers a ten-minute train ride thanks to 4000 solar cells on its roof. A similar solar-powered train is running In Hungary’s Nature Reserve Kiralyret Forest, where the vehicle was built by the locals.

Besides trains, even railway stations are becoming part of the sustainability revolution. London’s King’s Cross station has just been renovated and is now home to a large number of sustainable and energy-efficient solutions, including an on-site Energy Centre, which should provide all heat energy the development needs, in addition to green and brown roofs, sustainable urban drainage solutions and lower carbon emissions.

All-in-all, solar energy-driven trains are now chugging along on all parts of the world: India, North America, Italy or Belgium. And as solar panels enable lower emissions, decreased costs and even ‘free’ electricity onboard, the spread of such solar trains may even accelerate.

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