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India rolls out first solar-powered train

NEW DELHI, July 19, 2017

India has launched its first solar-powered train, which it is hoped will save around 21,000 litres of diesel a year, as the government attempts to make the country's vast rail network more environmentally friendly, reported The Independent Online.

The new 1,600 horsepower Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains are fitted with 16 solar panels on each carriage as well as battery back-ups, it said.

The cost of these solar panels, manufactured under 'Make in India' initiative, is Rs 54 lakh. This is the first time in the world that solar panels are being used as grid in railways, reported PTI.

The first train, which is pulled by a diesel-powered locomotive, has been launched on New Delhi’s suburban commuter railway system (Safdarjung railway station) in Delhi with the routes for the rest of the new trains to be decided soon.

The train will run from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi to Farukh Nagar in Haryana, the report added.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said Indian Railways has taken a path breaking leap towards making trains greener and more environment friendly in line with
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Clean India Green India' mantra.

"Modi has also been emphasising on use of green energy and environment friendly measures. We are committed to environment conservation and use of cleaner fuels," he stated.

Indian Railways, he said, was trying to increase use of non-conventional sources of energy.

"More solar powered trains may be inducted in future. We have already made a target of 1000 MW solar plants in next five years," he added.

Prabhu said the Indian Railways was taking several others eco-friendly initiatives like tea plantation, bio-toilet, water-recycling, waste disposal, using bio-fuel CNG and LNG and wind energy," he added.

The trains boast a battery bank facility that ensures sufficient power even in the absence of sunlight.

The 7,200kw of energy created each year by the solar panels will be used to power internal lights, fans and other electrical systems on the train coaches.

Each solar-panelled coach will reportedly offset carbon emissions by nine tonnes a year, which is expected to save around 21,000 litres of diesel.

The 1,600 horsepower train has been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, while its solar system and panels have been developed and fitted by the Indian Railways Organization of Alternative Fuel (IROAF). Twenty-four more coaches will be fitted with this system within six months.

“It is not an easy task to fit solar panels on the roof of train coaches that run at a speed of 80km per hour,” Sundeep Gupta, vice chairman and managing director of Jackson Engineers, which worked on the project, told Business Standard.

“Our engineering skills were put to a real test during the execution of this rooftop solar project for Indian Railways,” he added.




Tags: India | power | New Delhi | Modi | solar train | suresh prabhu |

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