A Nagpur-based entrepreneur claims to have devised a technique to harness the wind pressure on a moving train to generate power, and has even obtained 22 national and International patents for the concept.
“The technique has the potential to generate 14.81 lakh MW of power in India alone, with its 63,000 route kms of railways and 14,300 trains operating every day,” Santosh Pradhan, Chief Executive Officer of a private Engineering firm said. “My calculations show that every single km of the network of the Indian Railways can generate 20.89 MW of power every day. In fact, nearly 10,000 MW of electricity can be generated in Mumbai alone, on the suburban train network of the metropolis,” he said.
Explaining the concept, Pradhan said that wind pressure is created on the front surface of the engine of a moving train. “This pressure can be harnessed using a system of turbo-chargers and impellers to generate a huge quantity of compressed air. A system of pipes and impellers can transmit this compressed air to the roof of the train. From there, it can be transferred to a matching system of impellers and pipes suspended from the fixtures of the overhead equipment above the track,” he said.
From the overhead fixtures, the compressed air could be directed into pressure tanks for storage, and can be used to rotate turbines or air turbine motors, Pradhan said. The turbines or air turbine motors could be coupled to a generator to produce electricity, or to any other device to convert the compressed air into some form of energy, he also said.
The best part of the proposed technique was that it would need only the initial capital investment for installing the equipment, and there would be absolutely no operating cost, except for minor maintenance and repairs. At a rough estimate, the equipment would cost around Rs 8-crore per MW, but the cost would go down if the technology was widely adopted, Pradhan said, and pointed out that the system would pay for itself over a period of time since no operating cost was involved.
“The amount of electricity generated per kilometre per day would vary according to the length of the trains passing over a section of the track and their speeds. I have made the calculations with various permutations and combinations of track length, train length and train speed. The estimate of 20.89 MW per km of track per day and a total of 14.81 lakh MW is assuming 20 coaches to every train, and an average speed of 80 kms per hour. The amount of electricity generated would be higher at higher speeds, and vice versa. The sections of tracks within cities and towns are excluded, because train speeds are too low there,” he said.
Although he has obtained the patents, the concept has not been put to trial yet. “Top officials of the Indian Railways have been apprised of the concept. I am ready to conduct trials and demonstrate the technology if I am allowed to erect the equipment on a section of track and on some trains. The railways have to grant permission for that.” The Indian Railways spent nearly 17 per cent of its revenue, or around Rs 15,000-crore, on fuel, and could save a huge amount if it adopted the technique proposed, he asserted.
Pradhan said that in addition to the generation of a huge quantity of energy, the technique would also help conserve the environment, as there would be no pollution. “The proposed technology will be very eco-friendly, and help save 2586 million tonnes of Carbon dioxide emission in India alone. If adopted the world over, it would help reduce the emission of harmful gases drastically, and prevent damage to the ozone layer,” he further claimed.