A Byron Bay rail company has restored a disused vintage train to be 100% powered by solar energy — a world first for the transportation sector.
The worlds first fully solar train
An Australian rail company has restored a disused train to be 100% powered by solar energy — a world first for the transportation sector. The Byron Bay Railroad Company has also refurbished a 70-year-old stretch of track, 3 kilometers between the town of Byron Bay — a beachside town in the northeast of the state of New South Wales, and the Elements of Byron Bay resort.
Adapted vintage passenger vehicle proves that solar power can actually work for transportation
The Australian Byron Bay Railroad Company modernised a heritage train to prove that solar power can actually work for transportation. The train runs exclusively on clean energy. Solar panels on its roof and at pit stops provides all of the power needed for its 3 kilometer (1.9 miles) route.
The train can seat 100 passengers who can bring their bikes or surfboards too. Curved solar panels on the train and storage shed generate the equivalent amount of energy required to operate the train daily, charging the on-board 77kWh batterywhich keeps the train going, also under a cloudy sky.
The regenerative braking system recovers around 25% of the energy spenteach time the brakes are applied. It can make its daily 12 to 15 runs off one charge.
Currently this only works on short distances, but take the Dutch National railways, who transport 600,000 passengers every day in their electric trains which are 100% powered by wind energy, provided by energy utility company Eneco. Do you agree sustainable energy is the only way forward?
On the railway’s website it states — Our original intention was to get the train up and running as a diesel service prior to converting to solar power. However with the accelerated development of technology in this area it became technically feasible to convert the train prior to its first run in Byron Bay. The conversion is being undertaken now at the Lithgow Railway Workshop.
The solar charged batteries are designed to operate all systems including traction power, lighting, control circuits and air compressors. We understand this to be a world first.
The custom designed curved solar panels on the roof of the train combined with the solar array on the storage shed roof generate sufficient energy to power the train. The regenerative (“regen”) braking system recovers around 25% of the spent energy each time the brakes are applied.
In the case of prolonged lack of sunshine the on-board batteries can be charged from the grid supply using 100% green energy from local community based energy retailer Enova Energy. Like a bank, BBRC’s arrays of solar panels will deposit energy and then withdraw when required.
The diagram (below) outlines the solar conversion components and how the system works.
10 Ideas for a Green Transportation Infrastructure
Even in cases when it’s difficult or impossible to remove the car from the picture entirely, there are ways to “green” our transportation infrastructure and simultaneously improve our health and quality of life. Click ahead to find out one way to improve what’s already in place, and future projects you can get behind.