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Choo Choo Breakthrough: Wind-Powered Trains in Holland

Apr 28, 2017 08:47AM

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Nederlandse Spoorwegen reports that all of its electric trains are now running on energy harvested from wind. Working with Eneco, a sustainable energy supplier in the Netherlands, the goal was to operate the trains via wind turbines by January 2018, but they beat their own deadline.

Electric locomotives don’t use conventional engines; instead, they act like a component in an electric circuit transmitted via high-voltage power lines. Three options for usage include onboard energy storage systems such as batteries; an overhead wire; or an extra live rail, which has current flowing through it at all times. It’s used to power lights and air-conditioning, as well as for propulsion.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, turbines capable of generating 586 megawatts of electricity are the workhorses. In 2016, a 700 megawatt offshore wind farm near the town of Borssele became the most cost-effective of such installations in the world.


This article appears in the May 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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