In the month of December, a fully solar-powered took its first short ride in New South Wales, Australia. The Byron Bay Railroad Company was behind bringing this vintage passenger vehicle back to the tracks and proved solar power can be used for transportation purposes.
This train runs solely on solar energy. Solar panels are installed on its rook and at the pit, providing all the power needed to complete its 1.9 miles journey.
The train originally had 2 diesel engines which have been replaced by batteries and an electric motor. The other would serve as a back-up in case of any emergency. The train can even run under a cloudy sky owing to a 77KWH battery.
This solar powered train can seat 100 passengers and have room for other to stand. One round trip is completed every hour.
The engineers still stand the challenge of powering cars to run on solar energy. Reason being cars need lots of energy, they ride in shadow and sunlight, start and stop every now and then. The biggest hurdle faced is, small vehicles are heavy and the surface on which solar panels can be installed is too small to generate enough power.
Trains on the other hand have fixed routes to cover, and can be recharged at each stop through electricity generated by static solar panels. Hence many renewable energy projects target trains.
From January 2017, the Dutch national railway was provided fleet of wind turbines to fulfill electricity requirement. In the month of July Indian Railways also debuted trains with solar panels on their roofs to power-on lights and fans.
The United Kingdom is also considering using solar to power its rail transport. A report issued by Imperial College London and 10:10 Climate Action estimates that solar energy could power 10 percent of the country’s train routes that are presently running on direct current.