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Italian Trains with Solar-Power Boost

22 October 2005

Ansa
Trenitalia’s PV Train

ANSA. Italy has unveiled Europe’s first solar-power-assisted train. The solar panels on the train’s roof do not drive it but provide energy for its air conditioning, illumination and safety systems.

The PVTRAIN project, partly funded by the EU, has been under development since 2003, and involves 10 prototype units: 5 carriages, 3 cargo wagons and 2 locomotives.

Environment Minister Altero Matteoli said the first ten prototypes would pave the way for “significant” developments in the future.

The panels on a rail car can deliver approximately 1.36 kW of peak power. In the development and testing from July 2003 to May 2005, the solar panel system generated a total of 1,017.41 kWh.

The CEO of Italian train company Trenitalia, Roberto Testore, said it was “looking with interest to the solar power sector, with a view to producing vehicles on an industrial scale.” Solar panels are already used to provide a portion of train power in Japan, and a miniature railway in Wales is wholly powered by solar energy.

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October 22, 2005 in Europe, Rail, Solar | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack (1)

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The first solar-power-assisted trains in Europe are from Italy. "The PVTRAIN project, partly funded by the EU, has been under development since 2003, and involves 10 prototype units: 5 carriages, 3 cargo wagons and 2 locomotives." The solar panels on... [Read More]

Comments


I gather that this train isn't electrified. Otherwise I would suggest that putting the PV on the ground would probably make more sense.

It may make sense to mount the solar modules on the roof of electric and diesel/electric trains, particularly the diesel/electric (which accounts for most trains in the U.S.). A 1 mile long train that is 12 feet wide could hold about 500 kW (680 HP) of solar modules. The electric power they generate could save fuel by reducing the amount of energy provided by the diesel engine.

The train in the picture looks at least 20 years old. Are they putting PV panels on old trains? That makes no sense at all.

A modern train with efficient motors and regenerative breaking will provida an order of a magnitude better savings.

New trains may save more energy, but that's a huge expense compared to simply adding PV panels to existing units. Any energy offset by the use of solar power makes a difference in the end, it doesn't have to be massive to effectively save energy, especially if it's implemented on a large fleet. Eventually this may be incorporated as a standard way of building new trains, this test will show if it's reliable and functional enough.

I gather that this train isn't electrified. Otherwise I would suggest that putting the PV on the ground would probably make more sense.

I'm not so sure. Electric lines are lossy. So, either
(a) you deal with the added weight of the PV cells (loss) but have to transmit less electricity (savings) or
(b) you put the PV at a power plant (savings) but have to transmit more electricity (loss)

Which loss is greater? I have no idea. I would think that PV maintainance on the trains would be more costly than at a centralized location, but that PV on the trains will result in a greater public relations boon, which is important in the overall encouragement of people to demand greener energy.

If the climate control systems of the cars are self-powered, the train proper does not have to provide energy to them when the train is not moving.  If the train is diesel-powered, this might take a big bite out of idling losses.

The weight of the solar modules (including the controls/wiring) would be negligible compared to the average 25-ton rail car.
PV maintenance (except for batteries, if used) is nil.
So the gain is due to energy offset, as long as the train is running on a bright 'n sunny day!

I say the space between the tracks is wasted. Put the panels on the ground and make the panels stretch for 10 km one after another, each adding their 100W of load to the track. I guess the issue with the electrified rails won't surface unless some fool tries to stand on both rails. :b But a subway uses the same concept.
Then any trains on those tracks could use the power. Assuming there is a roster so the voltage provided overall is enough.

hello sir,
I know that solar projects are too costlier than others but in coming era they are very important as the other energy resources comes to end, I am an B.Tech. final year student and my project is 'solar train' about this I concern with my teachers and NEDA agency butI can't find the proper way, can you help me to acomplish this project? Please help me!
Thanks. shashank kumar
B.Tech(A.I.E.T.Lucknow)
India

The solar train look like asimple project but untill the rates of pv panell not reduced the train will not run, because the cost is very very high, further reducement of cost the pv panell is planted over three bogies of the train which produces enough power to run the train. One thing we keep in mind if whole part of roof of the train will covered by pv cells thens it produces more electricity which could be used some other work not today yet this technology come soon on the way.
Shashank kumar(B.Tech. A.I.E.T. Lucknow)

All very good ideas
Why don't we get together
Pull our resources and start a company
Draw up the plans, get financing
and issue stock, go public
and raise enough capital to do it all
Railroads are cheap now, merge or buy them
then revamp the hardware.

I am teacher working in a leading school in AP India.I have got a science fare project regarding solar train. I am going to give its demo on 27th of this month. Please give me necessary suggessions ragarding thsi project.

I am teacher working in a leading school in AP India.I have got a science fare project regarding solar train. I am going to give its demo on 27th of this month. Please give me necessary suggessions ragarding thsi project.

hi.. sir...
i am student... studying in karnataka.in india...i am doing the project on solar train....please give me feed back...

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