Published on May 3rd, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan3
Poland to Get Recyclable Subway Cars
Warsaw, Poland is to get recyclable subway cars for its Metro Warszawskie this Fall, according to Siemens. The metro cars are being developed by Siemens and BMW Group DesignworksUSA, an independently operating BMW Group subsidiary. Metro Warszawskie will get the first cars, 35 of them, this Fall.
Other than being 97.5% recyclable, the subway cars are extremely lightweight, making them more energy efficient than typical subway cars, and “additional energy-saving systems, such as those that control air conditioners with carbon-dioxide sensors or utilize energy-efficient LED lighting systems.”
And, my favorite part style-wise, the vertical handrails have a tree-like form — looks both cool and useful.
Of course, while the subways cars are almost entirely recyclable, that doesn’t mean they won’t be used for long — the expected lifespan is 40 years.
How are they making the cars so light, you ask? Well, in many ways.
Numerous measures were undertaken to reduce the weight of the Inspiro. The front end of the cars alone, which houses the couplings, weighs 500 kilograms less than before. Its design is based on the use of light aluminum profiles. To identify areas in which fewer materials could be used without limiting functionality, the entire car body was computer analyzed by means of the finite element method. Certain components in the cars themselves were made as multifunctional as possible — for example, parts of the ceiling also serve as cable ducts. In a further effort to reduce weight, air ducts are made of light textiles rather than the metal previously used, while a new type of cork-aluminum floor weighs 30 percent less than before, acts as a noise dampener, and also provides better heat insulation.
“The first 10 trains will be built in Germany, while the remaining 25 will be constructed in Poland,” Karen MacKay of Crisp Green notes. ”Forty percent of the components will be sourced in Poland.”
Despite living in Poland for nearly 4 years now, I’ve never made it to Warsaw. Maybe these super-green subway cars will finally pull me over there.
This isn’t the first green move the Warsaw Metro has made. As I wrote in November, it is working on a project with ABB to capture and reuse the braking energy of some its trains.