The Indian Railways have decided to go green with the launch of country’s first Solar Powered DEMU (diesel electric multiple unit) train.
How does DEMU Solar powered train works?
Usually, the DEMU trains provides power to its passenger comfort systems i.e., fans and lights from it’s diesel driven inverter. It is a multiple unit train powered by on-board engines that do not need a separate locomotive.
The country’s first solar powered train is equipped with a battery bank facility that ensures enough energy to keep the train going even in the absence of sunlight. The electrical need of the coaches will be met with the help of the energy produced by the solar panels fitted atop the coaches of DEMU.
Furthermore, the carrier is taking on several other environmentally friendly measures like using bio-toilets, water recycling, waste disposal, CNG & LNG and harnessing wind energy.
Speaking at the launch at the Safdarjung railway station, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said it was a “path breaking leap” towards making trains more environment friendly.
Manufacturing & Route planning of the DEMU
While the 1600 horsepower train has been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, its solar systems and panel have been developed and fitted by The Indian Railway Organisation of Alternative Fuel (IROAF). In addition, 24 more coaches with solar panel will be fitted within six months.
The solar powered train will be tested on Jodhpur Division of NW Railway. The first rake of the train will be put to commercial service over the suburban railway system of Delhi division shortly. A route will be decided soon, said the officials.
How Green can the train go?
Each solar panel will generate 300 W of energy, which mean 3.6 KW of power per coach. The IROAF has developed this system with a smart inverter battery bank that ensures sufficient energy. It optimises power generation on a moving train to cater to full load even during night hours.
The train would reduce diesel consumption and carbon signature by reducing carbon emissions by 9 tonnes per coach per annum. A solar powered DEMU train will save about 21,000 litres of diesel, thereby saving 12 lakh rupees every year.
Not the Only Green Initiative
The Solar train is not the only green initiative taken up by Indian Railways. Last year Indian Railways had introduced India’s first CNG DEMU train on the Rewri- Rohtak section of NW. Railways had modified the 1400 HP engine to run on dual fuel- diesel and CNG- through fumigation technology.
Moreover, a 1 megawatt solar power plant was set up at Katra station in 2015. It is the largest solar power plant built by Indian Railways that save upto Rs. 1 crore on energy bills annually.
Picture Courtesy: The Hindu, Financial Express.