Delhi Metro: DMRC test-deploys the first Wind Turbine to harness Wind Energy from fast moving Trains

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New Delhi: A group of ten students from Delhi University’s physics and computer science department have received permission from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to install a turbine at one of the underground metro stations to see if it can successfully harness wind energy generated by the trains.

A battery measures the power generated by the turbines.

The turbine has been installed at the Chandni Chowk metro station and was carefully positioned along the underground tracks located at the mouth of the tunnel where a maximum wind velocity of 6.5m/s is available. The turbine was set up where it would not obstruct train operation and would continue to ensure the security and safety of the Metro services.

The principal investigator of the project, Punita Verma, said that a three-blade turbine was installed in the first phase, which was later followed by “a five-blade light rotor turbine with a cut-in sped of less than 1.5m/s.” Verma explained that the team “connected it to a battery and measured the power it generates. We also discovered that different stations have different construction and the same turbines cannot be used at all the metro stations.”

To test wind energy potential at other stations, different turbines will need to be used.

Due to the fact that the metro stations are all different in their design, the same turbines that were developed to be used in the Chandni Chowk station cannot be used in other stations that have been constructed in different styles and slopes. As a result, the team has brought in Delhi Metro engineers and is testing different turbines in different stations, based on the frequency of trains.

Once the project receives full approval from the DMRC (which will need to approve the framework and design of the wind energy generation system,), manufacturing firms will be contacted to mass produce the necessary turbines to make the system actually possible.

According to the estimated calculation made by the team behind the project, one of the turbines can produce almost 200 watts per hour and generate 2 kWh of electricity from wind energy, which will save over 445 trees from being cut down.

Interesting Innovation

A group of Delhi University students initially visioned and discovered an innovative way of harnessing wind energy churned out by Metro trains to generate electricity.

The project, undertaken by Kalindi College, has also got the backing of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which allowed the students to install a turbine on trial basis at one of the underground metro stations.

“While standing at a metro station one day, the students realised that the wind energy produced in the tunnel by these fast moving trains gets wasted, and they decided to find out how it can be harnessed,” says Dr Punita Verma, Principal Investigator of the project.

The team, involving ten students of Physics and Computer Science departments, proposed setting up a turbine at an underground metro station to check if it can be successful in harnessing the wind energy.

DMRC officials found the project interesting and gave the nod to install a turbine at Chandni Chowk metro station.

“Without obstructing the operation, safety and security of Metro services, it was decided to put up turbine along the underground tracks at the mouth of tunnel where the maximum wind velocity available is 6.5 m/s.”

“In the first phase, we installed a three-blade turbine and later a five-blade light rotor turbine with a cut-in speed of less than 1.5m/s. We connected it to a battery and measured the power it generates. We also discovered that different stations have different construction and the same turbines cannot be used at all the metro stations,” Verma said.

The project, which has was started by a different group of students in 2013, has received a grant of Rs 15 lakh from the university.

While the first phase involved the research work, the DMRC engineers were later roped in to test the feasibility, who have asked the team to develop the concept further.

“We are now working on different designs of the turbines whose size, shape and orientation will be customised according to the wind velocity and frequency of trains at different stations. Once the design is approved by DMRC, turbine firms will be approached to make these turbines,” Verma added.

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