INDIA. Mumbai: The Western Railway (WR), which has already been harnessing solar energy, is now working on a plan to generate energy with turbines along the tracks and has installed mini windmills next to Khar and Naigaon railway stations on its suburban section.
One set comprises five turbines of 4 kilowatts each. The turbine blades rotate as a train passes by, generating electricity. The five vertical-axis wind turbines can generate up to 2 kilowatts at any time. Thus, both turbines will be able to generate around 50 units of electricity per day. The estimated cost of the project is around Rs 5 lakh.
The wind turbine converts wind energy into electricity using the aerodynamic force from the rotor blades, like an aeroplane wing or helicopter rotor blade. When wind flows across the blade, the air pressure on one side of the blade decreases. The difference in air pressure across the two sides of the blade creates both lift and drag. The force of the lift is stronger compared to the drag. This causes the rotor to spin, which is connected to a generator, either directly or through a shaft and a series of gears that speed up the rotation. This translation of aerodynamic force into the rotation of a generator creates electricity.
The WR has stationed five vertical pillars with blue and white coloured blades. As the train passes by, the blades start moving through rotor shafts that are paired with copper plates and other metals for generating wind energy. This is a pilot project and will be monitored on a trial basis, especially during the monsoon. Western Railway CPRO Sumit Thakur confirmed that a plan to generate electricity with wind turbines is on and will be gradually extended to other stations.
The WR has already installed solar panels at 97 railway stations and 46 buildings for power generation, and it was able to generate Rs 1.5 crore in electricity consumption costs in 2021–2022, a WR official said. Besides, till now, it has saved over Rs 3 crore on electricity bills through the use of renewable energy. With solar energy, it has managed to reduce 2,711 metric tonnes of carbon emissions and has been able to reduce the use of diesel up to 10.42 lakh litres, thus saving Rs 10.04 crore in revenue per year.