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Trains with Solar power  
2 Answers
Aug 24 2011 (9:01AM)

Entry# 668     
Trains with Solar power

Aug 24 2011 (8:25PM)
News Entry# 35382  Sun-powered high speed rail rises in Europe  
Posted by: rdb*^   Added by: rdb*^  Aug 24 2011 (8:26PM)
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.

Aug 24 2011 (7:54AM)
News Entry# 35274  Solar power for trains dawns in rainy Belgium  
Posted by: rdb*^   Added by: rdb*^  Aug 24 2011 (9:01AM)
Trains already have a reputation for being a very clean form of transport but Belgian commuters can now boast railways which are partially powered by solar energy.A public-private consortium consisting of Belgian rail management company Infrabel and solar developer Enfinity has installed 16,000 solar panels on the roof of a 3.4 km (2.1 miles) long tunnel between Antwerp and the Dutch border, creating enough electricity to power 4,000 trains a year.The unique feature of the project, which is designed to produce 3.3 gigawatt hours a year, is that the energy produced does not flow into the national grid but is used directly by the trains.Enfinity says that by cutting out the middle man, the grid operator, it can offer electricity about 30 percent cheaper.Infrabel benefits from being able to sell cheaper electricity to its customers, which include the Belgian railways and private high-speed operator Thalys.Enfinity and the other investors, such as...
the councils of the towns of Brasschaat and Schoten which border the tunnel, expect to see a return on their joint investment of 15.7 million euros ($22.12 million) within nine years.Enfinity says the solar panels used in the project are made by Chinese company Jinko Solar, which it said offered better returns than European competitors.
In terms of sunshine, the summer of 2011 has so far been a disappointing one, even by Belgian standards, with 20 days of rain in July and eight days of misery so far in August according to the Belgian Royal Meteorological Institute.
Enfinity's marketing head Jurgen Van Damme told Reuters that bad weather was part of the calculation and that he still expected an average of 900 hours of sun each year.
"There are good wine years and there are good solar years," he said.
Infrabel said it was considering a project fueled by wind power at another location in Belgium.
Passengers on a train entering the solar tunnel, which was inaugurated in June, reacted positively.
"We have solar panels at home so we know that it works and it's pleasant to see that we don't have to pay too much for electricity. So yes, I think it's a nice initiative," said passenger Els Krols on her way from Antwerp to the small town of Noorderkempen.
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