Australia can boast of having the world’s first solar train. It is a vehicle that is equipped with solar panels to obtain the energy it needs to move directly from the sun, which makes it one of the cleanest means of transport we can find today.
Traditionally, electric trains are considered to be a means of transport that respects the environment. However, the fact that they do not use fossil fuels does not mean that they are totally clean, since in many cases the electricity they use comes from non-renewable energies.
Fortunately, we are increasingly aware of the importance of protecting the environment in order to curb pollution and avoid the terrible consequences of climate change. For this reason, in some projects have already prospered that have the purpose of feeding their trains solely with renewable energies. For example, Dutch trains run on wind energy since last January, and the Santiago de Chile subway will be powered by solar and wind power starting in 2018.
Now, the first solar train that has been launched in Australia Byron Bay Railroad Company goes one step further in this sustainable transport line to ensure that the energy used is completely clean. The roots of this project go back to the Second World War, since the two wagons that were used were built in 1949 and have been restored. They are made with the fuselage aluminum that was used in the bombers , so they have the advantage that they are very light.
After restoring the wagons, the company decided to integrate solar panels on the roof in order to make the train completely self-sufficient and respectful of the environment. In addition, they have a regenerative braking system that has the ability to recover about 25% of the energy that the train uses to accelerate . The batteries can also be charged on the platform through a large solar panel on the roof of the storage shed, as well as obtaining energy directly from the supplied network of a local green electricity supplier.
The Australian solar train seats up to 100 passengers and transports travelers between two newly constructed stations that connect Byron Bay, a coastal town in the state of New South Wales, with a nearby art facility and luxury complex. At the moment the train will travel every hour, and it is expected that the service will be expanded as of January 2018.