Posting in Energy
Rail travel between Paris and Amsterdam just got sunnier. Through a tunnel and an ancient forest in Belgium, solar-powered trains are beaming with light.
A high speed rail line between Paris and Amsterdam now runs partially on the sun. Trains gliding along the E19 highway in Belgium at about 180 miles per hour are drawing power from 2.1 miles of solar panels.
Atop a train tunnel, Enfinity's photovoltaic panels cover more than 500,000 square feet. The tunnel runs through the ancient Peerds Forest with the original purpose of preventing trees from falling on the tracks. As of yesterday, it took on another job. The tunnel's 3.3-megawatt solar roof now generates electricity for the railway's trains, signals and lights and helps heat stations, such as the nearby Antwerp Central Station.
Trains with solar roofs appeared in Italy in 2005, but these panels only kept the carriage's air conditioners running. Belgium's $22.6 million (15.6 million euros) installation can reportedly power the equivalent of 4,000 train trips on Infrabel's HSL4 line and cut the railway's carbon dioxide input by 2,400 tons annually.
Bart Van Renterghem of Enfinity's UK branch tells The Guardian:
For train operators, it is the perfect way to cut their carbon footprints because you can use spaces that have no other economic value and the projects can be delivered within a year because they don't attract the protests that wind power does.
Even so, wind power is also on the agenda for Belgium's high speed rail network. Southeast of Brussels, Infrabel is planning a 2.5-megawatt wind farm along Highway E40. The 20 turbines will help power the railway between Leuven and Liège.
On the other side of the North Sea, however, some of Enfinity's other solar-rail endeavors are on standby. According to Van Renterghem, the UK government's proposal in March to cut renewable energy subsidies has hamstrung many efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
One project that is still speeding along is London's new Blackfriar's station. With 4,400 solar panels stretching across the Thames, the 1-megawatt project will provide half the station's electricity needs. The $11.9 million solar installation, the Guardian reports, will be the biggest in Britain when it opens next year.
For a bird's-eye view of the Antwerp-Amsterdam tunnel and an intense dose of electronic music, see below:
Related on SmartPlanet:
- Italy's road of solar power
- Philadelphia subway brakes for energy savings
- It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a superbus!
Jun 6, 2011
It is really good to hear about it. Sun-powered high speed rail rises in Europe. Everyone wants to be fast & no one have time , even people don???t have time for their own, life is so fast but in this we should take care of our eternal or spiritual growth. We should devote some time for personal growth. I recently joined gabriel of sedona . I am feeling self realization here.
As Tom Nelson points out: "At a nickel per ton on the (now-defunct) Chicago Climate Hoax Exchange, those 2,400 tons are a $120 value!!" (http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/). CLIMATEGATE 101: "Don't leave stuff lying around on ftp sites - you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone....Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it - thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially??? from UEA so he can hide behind that." - Phil Jones The most popular AGW supporting blogs are owned by PR firms financed by green energy speculators: DeSmogBlog = Run by a PR guy paid for by a $125 million dollar online gambling money convicted money launderer. That online banker now sells solar cells. RealClimate = Run by a far left wing political PR firm, the one that was behind the junk science claims that vaccines caused autism. ClimateProgress = Owned by a left wing PR firm. On cold fusion, before it was debunked: ???It???s like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.??? ??? Paul Ehrlich (mentor of John Cook of SkepticalScience.com, author of "Climate Change Denial") ???Clean-burning, non-polluting, hydrogen-using bulldozers still could knock down trees or build housing developments on farmland.??? ??? Paul Ciotti (LA Times) ???It gives some people the false hope that there are no limits to growth and no environmental price to be paid by having unlimited sources of energy.??? ??? Jeremy Rifkin (NY Times) ???Many people assume that cheaper, more abundant energy will mean that mankind is better off, but there is no evidence for that.??? ??? Laura Nader (sister of Ralph)
What percentage of the systems overall power consumption is supplied by solar on a good day? How many good days do they get a year? What is the expected annual output based on local weather? How does that output compare to their annual usage? Are tens of millions being spent for a low percentage of overall consumption?