India launched its first solar power DEMU train
Last Friday, India launched its first solar-powered local train at the Safdarjung railway station.
The train was manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, and the solar panels by the Indian Railways Organization of Alternative Fuel (IROAF).
The DEMU (diesel electric multiple unit) train is entirely powered by the solar panels that are installed on the roof of the train, including the energy needs of the coaches – lights, fans, information display system.
The train is equipped with a battery bank which ensures enough power for it to run even without sunlight thanks to a smart inverter which optimises power generation on a moving train.
Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said it was a “path-breaking leap” towards making Indian trains more environment-friendly, looking to increase the use of renewable and alternative energy.
In addition to only using solar energy, the train also has bio-toilets, a water-recycling system etc.
The train will be first put in commercial service in the area of Delhi shortly, but the specific route has not been decided yet.
According to the Railways, one solar-powered DEMU train with six trailer coaches enables a saving of 21,000 litres of diesel.