Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trains and Wind Energy


I was in London recently, and while travelling on the underground it struck me how much wind came down the tunnel. I thought that if that wind were to turn a turbine, it could generate a fair bit of energy. Perhaps some small bi-directional turbines fitted in the vent shafts could utilise the energy without presenting too major a technical or cost challenge.

Then I get this e-mail from my son with a link to a really unusual idea, that of using units between the tracks on a high-speed rail line to catch the energy of passing trains, and my London thought didn't seem so daft after all.

Lite-on design award winners, Ale Leonetti Luparinia and Qian Jiang have come up with a gizmo they call the T-Box. The T-Box is a small generator that utilises the wind energy from passing trains. It is designed to be installed into the spaces between the rail tracks. The designers estimate that about 150 T-Boxes could be fitted per 1km of track. The estimate that the T-Box would be able to catch the wind from passing trains and produce some 3.5 KW of power.

Don't know if this one will ever make it from the drawing board to the real world - but it is good to see people thinking about the conservation of energy.


1 comment:

Huw said...

This is a nice idea, but if we were to capture this energy then would it not surely increase friction and lead to more energy usage for the trains in order to overcome it?