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Brief Published: 17 Jun 2011

Solar-Powered Railway Tunnel


Europe’s first solar-powered railway tunnel has opened in Antwerp on the Paris to Amsterdam high-speed rail link.

Electricity is generated to power the 299kph trains as they pass through the 3.3km tunnel from 50,000 solar panels. The panels, which will generate 3,300 MWh of electricity per year, were built by Belgian solar power company Enfinity. It is estimated that the solar panels will save 47.3 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions over two decades.

Meanwhile, in the US a campaign has been launched for a sun-powered bullet train to connect Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona; and in Italy the European Union is funding a train with solar panels on the roof to provide electricity for a carriage air-conditioning system.