Solar powered Amsterdam to Paris link kicks off

by Alister POOLE on June 9, 2011

High-speed international trains connecting Paris and Amsterdam started operating during the week, powered by electricity from one stand-alone ground-breaking solar tunnel.

The tunnel, which is 2.2miles long, crosses Antwerp in Belgium and is fitted with an amazing 16,000 solar panels that cover 50,000 square metres - the rough equivalent of eight football pitches.

The panels are capable of producing 3,300 megawatts-an-hour of electricity, enough to power an astounding 4,000 trains per year. Enfinity, the American based company which started developing the project, says that it will decrease harmful CO2 emissions by at least 2,400 tons a year. Steven De Tollenaere, a representative of Enfinity, said that by using electricity that is generated on-site, energy losses are eliminated, as well as transport costs.

The first-ever ‘green train’ left Antwerp early on Monday morning and headed straight to Holland’s border, filled with students and the usual commuters. Most were unaware that the train’s engines were hooked up to the solar energy source that is now fitted along the line for the first twelve miles of the journey.

The company hopes that the project, which set Enfinity back £12m, will be further extended to America. However, no plans to introduce such solar infrastructures in the UK exist, as cuts to financial incentives mean that these types of projects are unviable.

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