Indian Railways launches solar powered diesel train

15 July 2017

The Indian Railways on Friday launched the first Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) train equipped with solar-powered coaches where the entire fan and lighting will be through solar energy.

Minister of railways Suresh Prabhu flagged off the first 1600 HP DEMU train with solar powered coaches with a unique facility of battery bank from Delhi's Safdarjung Railway Station on Friday. The entire electrical need of the coaches for lighting, fans and information display system will be met from the solar energy produced from the solar panels fitted in the roofs of coaches.

The project will help offset carbon emissions by 9 tons per coach per year and also save about 21,000 litres of diesel for a solar-powered DEMU with six trailer coaches, thereby bringing cost saving of Rs12 lakh every year.

The installed solar rooftop system will generate 7,200 KW of energy per year per system, which will be used for powering internal lights, fans and other electrical systems of the coach and has a battery backup.

A total of 16 solar panels of 300 Watt panel have been installed on the roof of the coach to generate the requisite power.

A project by Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuels (IROAF), a unit of Indian Railways that works to promote bio-diesels and other environmentally benign alternative fuels, this is the first instance of a diesel-run passenger train fitted with solar rooftop system with battery backup.

The system is capable of developing up to 20 kWh per day throughout the year. Surplus power generated during peak hours will be stored in a 120 AH battery system. It will help in generating useful data for research for adapting the system for future rollout on all trains of Indian Railways.

The solar system has been fitted with anti-theft mechanism which can withstand trains running with a speed of more than 100 km/hr.

This train has been manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) of the Indian Railways, Chennai, while its solar panels and solar systems have been developed and fitted by Indian Railways Organisation of Alternative Fuel (IROAF) Delhi.

The first rake has been commissioned and based at Shakurbasti DEMU shed in Delhi of Northern Railway. Railways plan to fit 24 more coaches with this system within the next 6 months. The first rake will be put in the commercial service over the suburban railway system of Delhi division of Northern Railway.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister said, ''Indian Railways has already made a target of 1,000 MW solar plants in next five-years. Indian Railways is also taking several others environment friendly measures like tea plantation, bio-toilet, water-recycling, waste disposal, using bio-fuel CNG and LNG, wind energy etc.

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