Students of one of India’s most reputed universities are planning to harness high speed winds generated by Delhi’s metro trains. A team of ten students of Delhi University is planning to strategically install a small wind turbine on the Delhi metro network to generate electricity. Delhi Metro carries about 2 million people everyday across its 196-kilometre network, which has142 stations. When all planned phases of the Delhi metro are executed, it would become the world’s fourth largest metro network at 420 kilometres. It is also one of only five metro systems worldwide that operate in profit.
The project is part of the university’s Innovation Project Scheme. The students working on the project have determined that the best locations to harness wind energy on the metro network are the entry points of tunnels and the point where the train moves from an underground line to an elevated line. The operator of the Delhi metro network, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, has given permission to the students to install a small turbine at one of the underground stations on the network.
“So far we have done the theoretical work only using the data on the speed of trains that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has provided us with. According to our calculations, a turbine should be able to produce around 500 watts of power per hour* but we have adjusted this figure for friction and other inadvertent problems on the ground and feel that a turbine will be able to produce around 200 watts per hour*,” said Charul Goel, a team member.
While the power generation potential of these small turbines is far less than the daily power consumption of the metro network, the initiative represents exceptional innovation from the students. The power generated will be virtually free which would bring the metro at least some benefit, as it pays among the highest electricity tariffs in Delhi. The power generated will also offset carbon emissions.
The Delhi metro already generates substantial carbon offsets every year through its kinetic energy recovery system and has also implemented rainwater harvesting initiatives. The Delhi metro was recently registered under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for reducing emissions by replacing thousands of vehicles from the roads of Delhi. Importantly, this initiative would inspire others to think about similar or even better projects which could help huge cities like Delhi to grow in a sustainable manner.
The views presented in the above article are the author’s personal views only.
*As a reader noted, watts per hour doesn’t make sense. It’s likely that what Mr. Goel meant was “500 watts [or 500 watt-hours per hour] (or 12 kWh in a day)…. 200 watts (or 4.8 kWh in a day).”