Posts Tagged ‘Amsterdam’

14 June

Trains, Powered By Sunshine, in Belgium and India

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The Swiss Solar Impulse 2 (solar airplane) and French solar rooftops have inspired me to look toward other forms of transport and surface areas to be powered by or used to generate solar energy. It’s fantastic that there had been quite a few interesting progress made in the area of trains. Case in point, the high speed train powered by solar energy, in the video below, was in service back in 2011 in Belgium:

The rail line between Antwerp and Amsterdam (about 80 miles) in Belgium was the first solar paneled train tunnel (about 2.2 mile long tunnel) in Europe that utilized 16,000 solar panels (costed $22 million for installation) to power the railway infrastructure and trains back in June (started on June 14), of 2011, bringing clean energy to trains. This Solar Tunnel project is expected to generate 3.3 megawatts of energy (equivalent of the average annual electricity consumption for 4,000 trains or about 1,000 homes). The project partner Enfinity also indicated that the tunnel is decreasing CO2 emissions by 2,400 tons annually. “It is the perfect way to cut the carbon footprint because the spaces used have no other economic value,” commented by Bart Van Renterghem, Enfinity former UK head. Other collaborators on this project were Belgium rail operator Infrabel and solar construction company Solar Power Systems.  This was a fantastic clean energy project because it is optimizing the previously idled space and once the installation is in place, there is to be no consumption of fuel or coal and at no cost to our environment.

About 4461 miles (or 7179 km) away, India is planning to massively  utilize the solar energy via its state-owned railway systems. With one of the largest railway networks in the world, running about 12,000 trains, 23 million passengers (practically the entire Australian population), and 3 million tonnes of freight daily, much energy is needed.   In 2012, the Indian Railways consumed nearly 3 million kiloliters of diesel oil  and about 14 billion kWh of electricity .  So, India’s railway minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu wants to control such a ballooning fuel bill by shifting toward alternative energy sources. Since the Indian Railway System is aiming to have at least 10% of its total energy consumption coming from renewable energy by 2020, the railway minister wants to incorporate more alternative energy sources to power trains. This is first done by solar powered lighting via solar panels mounted on the roofs of the trains. This is now being tested on a non-AC coach on the RewariSitapur passenger train.

Indian Solar Train photographed by Anil Kumar Chhatri or credit citymetric.com

Indian Solar Train photographed by Anil Kumar Chhatri or credit citymetric.com

The cost of installing panels on each coach is about Rs3.9 lakh (about $6,084), translating into savings of Rs1.24 lakh (about $1,934) per year, According to The Economic Times of India Times.  In the next few weeks, the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and the railway coach maker Integral Coach Factory will  be testing the solar  paneled coach under a variety of conditions. Besides the solar powered coach, the Indian Railways will also be building  solar power plants of about 8.8 MW (megawatts) in 200 train stations and some of its office buildings.

Without the common vision and collaborations from policy makers, such ambitious projects would not have existed. In India, it took the echoing  support between India’s prime minister Narendra Modi and railway minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu to enable such a solar project to become a reality.  Prime Minister Modi encouraged alternative energy projects by encouraging solar companies from around the world to invest $100 billion to reach its solar power capacity target of 100,000 MW by 2022 (about five times India’s current solar power generation capacity). He was also instrumental behind another ambitious project, World’s First Canal Solar Power Plant in India, in Gujarat, in one of our previous post.

I hope all policy makers and governing bodies will receive the support he/she/they/it need(s) during this critical transitional period in human history, onward and forward toward the renewable/solar energy future! For deep down, within all of our hearts, we know that Solar/Renewable/Clean Energy is the solution/answer to Energy-Pollution-Economic Prosperity-International Conflicts. The sooner we get there, the better it will be for us and our posterity. In our system of democracy, perhaps all of us may be able to help play a part in assisting our policy makers in arriving at the correct decisions or policies quickly.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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31 May

The Dutch Has Shown Us How To Produce Solar Energy & Art Via Bike Paths

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit:  notrickszone.com.)

Solar Bike Path of Netherlands, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: notrickszone.com.)

(Please click on red links & note magenta)

My associations with people from Netherlands have always been extremely positive, enthusiastic, optimistically ambitious. So, it was not surprising that during Nov. of 2014 the Dutch (people from Netherlands) developed the first Solar Bike Path (with embedded solar cells) in the world, outside Amsterdam connecting the suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer! This Dutch project integrated solar panels into a bike commuter path to generate power to be funneled into the national energy grid.  The crystalline silicone solar cells are encased in two layers of tempered safety glass, mounted in a concrete housing.

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: npr.org)

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: npr.org)

According to SolaRoad, it’s been a challenge to produce energy-producing slabs that are both durable and rideable by thousands of cyclists per day. “It has to be translucent for sunlight and repel dirt as much as possible,” the company says. “At the same time, the top layer must be skid resistant and strong enough in order to realize a safe road surface.” This $3.7 million project is a collaboration between the research group TNO and the government of North Holland. Its technical aspects may be found in Phys Org site.

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: pri.org)

Active Solar Bike Path of Netherland, first in the world, installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: pri.org)

This 70-meter or 230 feet (over two-third of the length of an NFL football field) section solar bike path is flat instead of angled to optimally take advantage of the sun, therefore the path’s panel will produce about 70% of what similar panel might produce on a rooftop.  With approximately 87,000 miles of roadways, Netherlands’s total road surface area is much larger than that of rooftops.

This project is the first step that the local government hopes will extend to 100 meter (or 328 feet) by 2016. Now that it’s been half year into the installation of the solar bike path, it’s become clear that the solar panels are outperforming expectations, having already generated 3,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. This is fantastic! In a space that previously generated no clean electricity, now it is functioning well and ready for further development and expansion. I have no doubt that the cost and overall efficiency of any solar roadway will continue to improve as more and more visionaries collaborate to enable such Clean Solar Renewable Dream of Solar Roadway to become a reality. Our hats off to the visionaries in Netherlands!

Another solar bike path later unveiled in the same month, but in the city of Eindhoven, Netherland, of the passive solar form, is inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, below:

 

Passive Solar Bike Path (at night) of Eindhoven, Netherland, also being installed in Nov. of 2014, inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night" (credit: thisistange.com.)

Passive Solar Bike Path (at night) of Eindhoven, Netherland, also being installed in Nov. of 2014, inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (credit: thisistange.com.)

(Be sure to view the whole  video below, “Visions of Public Art: by Daan Roosegaarde”….you won’t regret it….)


Of course, it is the Dutch who would embrace a challenge by innovating first, by being efficient, in being artistic while pragmatic and remaining connected to both the past and the future……look at the Solar Bike Path at night, an inspiration by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit:  dogonews.com)

Passive Solar Bike Path in Eindhoven, Netherland, installed in Nov. of 2014, inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (credit: dogonews.com)

Our future would be simply breath-takingly beautiful, if we don’t destroy our planet first…there lies the beauty of Solar Energy…for it is the answer to Energy-Pollution-Economic Prosperity-Climate Change-International Conflicts. SO, LET’S USE IT !

As long as we’re on the subject of solar roadway, let me remind you of the Indiegogo campaign here at sunisthefuture.net for Scott & Julie Brusaw of Idaho, asking for $1 million but ended up raising more than $2.2 million for their Solar Roadway R & D project. Yes, it is exciting to live in a world where dreamers and visionaries are in many places!

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

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