Clean Power

Published on February 27th, 2013 | by Mridul Chadha


Delhi Students To Generate Power From Wind Produced By Metro Rail

February 27th, 2013 by  

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.

A Train of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation at one of the stations (Credit: WillaMissionary | Public Domain)

A Train of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation at one of the stations (Credit: WillaMissionary | Public Domain)

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).”

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About the Author

currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

  • Elayaraja

    nice plan. while the wind mill is kept in train when the travels the train the wind rotates and we get energy.

  • sunny

    Nowdays light weight windmills are coming which can work in less windy places too.


    but the train will violate the laws of nature the resistance offered by it will surely reduce the speed of train

  • kvkell

    Has anyone found any more information on this project? I can’t find much at all on the members of the team, the professors involved, the station they installed it at, or the results of their work. The original article at Hindustan Times very unscientific and I don’t trust it’s reliability.

  • Hans

    “200 watts per hour (or 4.8 kW in a day)” does not make much sense

    Let me shed some light:

    Joule is the SI* unit for energy.

    Power is the energy converted** per time. Its unit is therefore Joule per second (J/s)

    Watt (W) is just another name for Joule per second: 1W=1J/s.

    Now comes the confusing part: in the electricity world they use Watthours as unit for energy. This is the energy converted in an hour when the power is 1 Watt.

    1 Watthour= 3600 Wattseconds = 3600 (J/s)*s=3600 Joule.

    Watt per hour only makes sense when speaking of an increase of power.

    Now you know it, spread the word to other energy bloggers.

    *System internationale

    **Energy is never produced, it is just converted from one form to another form.

    • Hans
    • Bill_Woods

      Presumably those should be
      ‘… 500 watts [or 500 watt-hours per hour] (or 12 kW-h in a day). …
      200 watts (or 4.8 kW-h in a day), …’

      • Hans

        That is rather obvious, I was just trying to educate. I find it frustrating that even at a site specialised in technology they cannot get their basic units right.

        • unfortunately, those figures are from a direct quote from the source. so i’ve simply removed them. i’d assume they should be what Bill writes, but not going to leave them in based on an assumption.

          • Hans

            I wonder if the error is by the students, or by some press officer who “corrected” the units. I suspect that a lot of people are confused by the fact that Wh means Watt times hour, because they are used to units like miles per hour. When they than see Watthour they think: that must be a mistake let me correct that.

            By the way, why not a little footnote with Bill Woods’ comment? Having no numbers makes the article a bit bland.

          • Yeah, I wondered the same. And I figure that what you postulate is the case 99% of the time.

            Footnote would be a fine option. I will use the actual quote so it’s one us less 😀 and add the footnote.

  • Otis11

    As described, this will not work. The students are overlooking a fundamental physical principle – you can’t get energy from nothing! The energy that they are harvesting from the “wind” generated by a train going by will disrupt the wind-tunnel that the train has created, disrupting the laminar flow right around the train and increasing drag on the train.

    This system will effectively pull energy from the train, but at the expense of the trains efficiency.

    Good job thinking outside of the box, but this one doesn’t quite work.

    • That’s the same thing that crossed my mind reading this, but was afraid I might be missing something.

      • Otis11

        Doubtful – I don’t see how they could bend the Physics… Unless you want the train to slow down at those points???

        • The only thing I was thinking was if they were installed somewhere far enough out of the trains path and simply receiving some wind overflow somewhere that wouldn’t affect the train’s wind tunnel. But, doesn’t really sound like that’s the case, and don’t think placement in such a location would be of any use anyway. And for all I know, it’d still interfere with the train’s wind tunnel.

        • I don’t much idea about the technicalities but yes, the trains stop every 1-1.5 kms so they have to slowdown frequently. Plus, I believe the speeds differ when the trains are running on elevated tracks and underground tracks.

          The DMRC has allowed the students to install a system at one of the underground stations. I’ll try to find out which station it is and have a closer look at the system, if they allow me to.

    • abha

      hello, i am physics 1 yr student. i understood their project bt does not catch ur point. i want to know which principal u r talking about? could u plz answer in descriptive n ground level way so that i can understand it.

      Actually what enabled me to understand was that how laminar flow will distrupt. the wind flows in front of the train then will go through the turbine. what makes the drag on d train.

      • Otis11

        Sounds like you figured it out, but to reiterate – The train must move the air in front of it in order to move forward. This creates a flow of air around the sides of the train, but also causes much of this air to move forward with the train. All of this requires the train to expend energy to move the air or make the air move with it. Putting obstacles in the way of this air causes the train to expend more energy to move the air and ends up increasing drag on the train.

        let me know if that doesn’t explain it enough.

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