For first time, Indian Railways installs parabolic solar concentrator for hot water supply; see benefits

This Parabolic Solar Concentrator-based water heating system will supply hot water for soaking and cleaning of various railway components such as bogie frames, engine blocks, brake rigging components, axle boxes of various rolling stock.

solar concentrator, water heating system
The solar concentrator comprises six parabolic mirror reflectors of 16 metre sq area, called Scheffler concentrator.

Indian Railways has been taking various eco-friendly initiatives to improve the environment and reduce its carbon footprint. In o­ne such unique initiative, Southern Railways’ Goldenrock workshop has installed a Parabolic Solar Concentrator based water heating system in place of existing electrical heaters, which is first-of-its-kind in the Indian Railways network. This Parabolic Solar Concentrator-based water heating system will supply hot water for soaking and cleaning of various railway components such as bogie frames, engine blocks, brake rigging components, axle boxes of various rolling stock, according to a press release issued by the Southern Railway Zone.

The solar concentrator comprises six parabolic mirror reflectors of 16 metre sq area, called Scheffler concentrator. This focuses on the radiation of the sun o­n six separate receivers placed in front of them at a fixed height. Receivers and pipelines are interconnected for the circulation of water from a storage tank, which is based o­n the Thermosyphon principle. The Parabolic Solar Concentrator-based water heating system is capable of heating the water up to 82 degrees C, required for various processes.

Besides, an Indicator provided in the Collection tank/outlet pipe connection displays outlet water temperature. To avoid heat loss from the hot water, proper insulation covering the storage tank as well as pipeline has been made. The unit can supply 10,000 litres of hot water per day utilizing o­nly solar energy during peak period. Also, backup electric heater is installed in the system as a “standby” in order to supply hot water during rainy or cloudy days.

With the installation of this system, the workshop is expected to save about 1.9 lakh units of electric energy as well as Rs 15.27 lakhs per year. Also, the system will allow the workshop to achieve a reduction in carbon footprint to the tune of 1,58,410 kg of carbon dioxide per year. The indigenous unique initiative to tap Solar Energy for heating water for industrial use is in alignment with the Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ policy.

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