Trains are considered some of the greenest forms of mass transit, and in many cities, subways shuttle people from the suburbs to the city center. Now, the creators of the "T-Box" have the ability to make trains even greener. The T-Box is designed to harness the gust of wind accompanying passing trains and the electricity can be used to produce power for remote areas near the railroad tracks or railroad facilities along the line.
The T-Box fits between the railroad ties and is partially buried so that it's out of the way of the train. The creators, Qian Jiang and Alessandro Leonetti Luparini say that a train passing at 125 miles per hour produces a wind speed 50 ft/sec over the box. A 700-foot train would produce 3500 watts of power over half a mile of track. If the train is running near 200 miles per hour, the T-Box would produce almost 3 kilowatts of power.
For those who have ridden subways, the concept could possibly be used on the walls and ceilings of the subway tube. While speeds would be lower in a subway, the confined space between the subway cars and the walls would increase the speed of the wind because the air is compressed and this electricity generated could also go towards powering the subway as well.
The United States just approved over $8 billion for high speed rail funding and soon the State of Texas will vote on legislation that would create a statewide rail system. The T-Box is yet another reason to promote cleaner forms of mass transportation as it could help offset the cost of its construction through the electricity it produces. If you live somewhere like New York or Washington D.C. with a subway, something like this could be used to a great benefit to riders. The cost savings generated by the electricity could also be used to lower fares for customers. Furthermore, the T-Box only represents the tipping point, in highway-heavy states like Texas, modifications to the T-Box is something that could be integrated into highway systems to power street or traffic lights.
The T-Box is a great way to make a green mode of transportation even greener. The underlying premise of sustainability implies that we use the resources available to us, so it is with that spirit that the T-Box uses otherwise wasted wind energy and harnesses it to work its way back into powering our society.
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