The electricity consumption by the Indian Railways accounted for 2.5% of the total electricity consumption in India. Owing to this, the 4th largest transport network in the world took upon the herculean task to obtain energy efficiency while developing and implementing all technologies associated with energy efficiency and researching the best practices to achieve energy efficiency. While there have been many developments such as online booking of tickets and online checking of the running status of trains, some developments to achieve energy efficiency have had a widespread impact. This can go a long way in reducing the use of fossil fuels and encouraging the development of cleaner sources of energy. In addition to developing energy-efficient systems and practices, the use of energy should drastically go down.
Some of the projects undertaken by the Indian Railways
Replacing old lights with LEDs
Palakkad Railway Division brought about a radical change in the 95 stations that fall under the division. They switched to LED light bulbs, boards, energy-efficient fans, and AC units and managed to save a massive Rs.62.3 lakhs on bill payments.
160-watt LED floodlights were welcomed warmly as 400-watt metal halide lights were bid farewell. With the mantra being out with the old and in with the new, neon stations boards at Palakkad junction, Shoranur Junction, Kozhikode, and Thalassery paved the way for LED-based boards.
Regular fans were replaced with energy efficient Brushless Direct Current fans, which save 30 watts in comparison, and regular AC units were replaced by inverter type AC units. The Railway Hospital in Palakkad and the DRM’s office installed 20 kW and 10 kW solar power plants for energy efficiency. 3 kW plant at Thalassery station and two kW plant at Parali station started functioning to meet the goals of energy efficiency.
The use of electric locomotives
In September, a 12,000 HP locomotive was imported from Alstom in France, which arrived at Kolkata port. This is a very high-powered electric locomotive that is beneficial to reduce energy efficiency as it will carry freight at twice the existing speed.
The first major FDI project in the rail sector, a deal was inked in November between the Indian Railways and the French company, which led to an agreement of manufacturing 800 such engines in the next 11 years. However, only first five locomotives will be imported, whereas the remaining 795 will be built and the delivery will be spread between 2018 and 2028. The line capacity in the rail network will be significantly improved by the increased speed.
Replacing regular toilets with bio-toilets
The use of bio-digester toilets is being incorporated in the railway network by the end of December 2018 as against 2019 as an attempt to make railway trains energy efficient. Bio-digester toilets break down solid waste and convert it into carbon dioxide, methane, and water.
This waste can also cause a lot of diseases to people who live in the vicinity of the railway tracks and may even contaminate groundwater.
Thus, there have been various initiatives taken by the railways to increase energy efficiency, and the little efforts that have been made across the country will lead to massive development as a whole.