Since last Saturday in Australia, the first electric train powered by solar energy has been operating.
This first solar train in the world, links the township and a resort of North Beach in New South Wales and runs on an old railway line that was in disrepair.
The company that bet on this innovation in mobility is the Byron Bay Railroad. The train features 6.5 kW of flexible solar panels manufactured by the Zhengrong Shi company, and its main platform adds another 30 kW to the train. Its Koham battery stores a total of about 77 kW, more than enough to cover the 4 kWh it consumes on a trip.
Although the company's objective is for the train to run 100% with renewable energies, the original diesel engine is preserved and will remain operational for emergencies.
Brian Flannery, owner of the North Byron resort, destination of the train, made his fortune with a coal miner and today finances the solar train project.
Jeremy Holmes, project manager comments: “We searched the country and found an ancient train in ruins, restored it, and are now powering it with a 4.6 billion-year-old power source. We partnered with the amazing Tim Elderton from the Lithgow Railway Workshop to restore the train and oversee the solar conversion along with our other partners Nickel Energy and Elmofo. Local rail industry expert Geoff Clark has been guiding the project and helping navigate complex regulations and safety requirements”
“Without government support at any level, Byron Bay Railroad Company has delivered the world's first solar train”, He saidJohn grimes, executive director ofSmart Energy Council. “True innovation meets barricade at barricades, so we congratulate this team on their incredible achievement. Let's hope this unique train in regional Australia can demonstrate the possibilities of solar technology and the power of perseverance.“.
The Byron Bay train will operate limited service for the time being until January, when the full program begins.
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