First ‘green’ European trains powered by solar tunnel

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Car Rental News - 09/06/2011


A revolutionary tunnel of solar panels provides power for high-speed rail services between Paris and Amsterdam.

The first high-speed rail services connecting Paris and Amsterdam and running on juice supplied from a revolutionary new solar tunnel have gone into service this week. The trains are getting their electrical power from a ground-breaking design of solar tunnel.

The tunnel, which stretches for 2.2 miles, crosses the Belgian city of Antwerp. It is covered by 16,000 solar panels that fill an area of 50,000 square metres, or approximately the same area as eight football pitches.

The solar panels generate 3.3 million Watt-hours of electricy each year, enough to power the needs of 4,000 trains. US company Enfinity, which is behind the project, says the solar tunnel would lead to a 2,400-ton reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions every year.

Speaking for Enfinity, Steven De Tollenaere said the use of electricity produced on-site would lead to the elimination of transport costs and energy losses.

The first of the green trains departed from Antwerp on Monday, heading for the Dutch border. It was, as usual, filled with commuters and students. The electricity from the solar tunnel also goes into the system to power lighting and signals.

Few, if any, of the passengers aboard the train had any idea that the train was drawing its power from the solar energy system along the rail line for approximately 15 miles at the start of the journey.

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