India is making strides to reduce its carbon emissions by upgrading its extensive rail network to use a form of clean energy.
The country’s first train to feature solar-powered coaches became operational in June. The ventilation, lights, and information displays in all carriages will be powered by panels that are attached to the roof. A six-carriage train could save over 21,000 liters of diesel fuel per year by some estimates.
The trains will initially service routes and lines in New Delhi, which happens to be one of the more polluted parts of India. Twenty four more coaches are then expected to be fitted with the system, which costs about $13,500 to install.
Jackson Engineers, an Indian company, developed the system in partnership with a Taskforce aimed at exploring alternative fuels in the railway system. The Taskforce also looked into bio-diesel and natural gas options for reducing emissions. One challenge with designing the system was developing a structure that could withstand the 80kph speeds the trains travel at.
There’s still a long way to go for India’s railway system, and the country as whole, when it comes to investment in renewable energy. The country has set a goal of generating 175 giga watts of renewable energy by 2022. This project will help with that goal but is only expected to produce 1,000 to 5,000 mega watts of power when fully scaled. Paired with additional renewable energy projects the country will still need to look for other ways to reduce fossil fuel usage.