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Indian Railways Developing Solar-Powered Air Conditioning

Indian Railways to use Solar-Powered Air Conditioning

Image source: flickr.com/photos/sakeeb

Solar power may eventually be used to power air conditioned coaches on railways in India, potentially cutting down on the use of fossil fuels to cool down the passengers.

A new project from Integral Coach Factory and Indian Institute of Technology Madras will work to design a viable substitute for powering the air conditioning on passenger trains, some of which currently use an additional “power” car to provide energy for the AC systems.

“We have asked IIT Madras to find ways to tap solar power and use it for interior lighting and air conditioning. An MoU was signed a month ago. We have started preliminary discussions with professors to work out different modalities to develop a feasible model to use solar power in running trains” – senior ICF official

With the rising price of diesel, and the added expense of pulling another car on the train just for supplying power, moving toward a system that can harvest at least some of the energy from the sun hitting the tops of the cars could eventually make a big difference in overall energy efficiency in public transportation.

As the project is still in the preliminary stages, it’s not known whether or not a solar energy system could entirely replace the need for power cars, or if the system is better suited to just reducing the demand from such power cars.

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