Renewable energy technology has gained a lot of traction in the recent times and researchers are trying their best to incorporate them wherever they can. Small cars are too heavy and don’t have enough surface area to cover with solar panels and they need to stop constantly sometimes in the sun, sometimes in the shade. So, a viable option to convert them to solar power is still elusive.
Trains, on the other hand, are a completely different story. They have fixed paths and designated stops and solar panels can be installed on both the train and the stops to charge the train for its journey. Byron Bay Railroad Company in Australia did exactly that as the world’s first solar-powered train starts running.
The world’s first solar-powered train is actually a vintage train modified and brought back to life by the company. The train originally consisted of two diesel engines. One of these engines has been replaced by batteries and an electric motor. The second engine is still present on the train and will serve as a backup in case of an emergency.
The backup has not been required yet as the train keeps running even under a cloudy sky owing to its 77 kWh battery. The solar-powered train holds 100 seated passengers leaving room for others to stand and completes one round-trip journey every hour.
Even though the train currently only has a 3 km route, it goes on to show the many possibilities and what the future might hold. Many other countries and companies are also working on solar-powered trains of their own and even though it is a small distance being traveled for now, it will decrease the traffic on the roads. This is actually a huge leap forward and we will see the impact in the years to come.
You can see the train in action in the video below: