Latest in recycling: an entire metro rail

April 28th, 2008 - 12:55 pm ICT by admin  

By Joydeep Gupta
Singapore, April 28 (IANS) A top official of German engineering major Siemens thinks the Oslo metro train built by the company may be the most climate-friendly railway system yet. Wolfgang Bloch, vice president of corporate environmental affairs and technical safety, Siemens, is convinced that good energy-efficient railways, especially in cities, should be a major part of the fight against climate change.

For instance, 95 percent of all material used in building the Oslo metro can be recycled. The heat generated when the brakes are applied can be captured and used to move the train later.

Railways are, of course, good energy savers because they transport so many people at the same time. On top of that, the railways themselves have much scope for improvement, says Bloch.

Siemens is building the Shanghai metro now.

Speaking to IANS on the sidelines of the recent B4E (Business for the Environment) summit here, Bloch said: “Apart from the material that can be recycled, the Oslo subway system is equipped with new technology that reduces the system’s energy consumption by 30 percent.”

Transport is one of the leading causes of carbon dioxide emissions, both directly and indirectly, during the process of manufacture and fuel preparation.

Emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is warming the atmosphere, leading to climate change. This is already affecting farm output, leading to more frequent and more severe droughts, floods and storms and rising sea levels, especially in the tropics and sub-tropics.

Climate change has been described as the defining challenge of our times.

Pointing out that one of the most vital ways to fight climate change was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing technologies, Bloch said: “Technological innovations can take care of 26 out of 44 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emitted through energy-related processes.”

These technological innovations, according to the senior Siemens official, include power plant retrofits, improving building insulation and increasing the number of energy saving lamps used around the world.

Apart from that, he stressed the need to give more of a fillip to power generation from wind, a technology in which Germany is the current global leader.

Talking about new technologies that can help tackle climate change, Bloch said his firm’s researchers were working on nanotechnology for high performance gas turbines.

“Siemens researchers have developed very fine turbine coatings as well as new ceramics for the combustion chambers.”

Bloch said this means “the world’s biggest and most powerful gas turbine will have an output of 340 megawatts, as much power as 13 jumbo jet turbines”.

“The combined cycle facility where it will be used will supply enough electricity for the population of a city the size of Hamburg and will achieve an efficiency rating of over 60 percent which will also be a world record.

“This power plant is a good example of environmental and climate protection.”

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