A team of researchers at Imperial College’s Energy Futures Lab are trying connect solar panels directly to the lines that power UK trains.
There are already over 5,500km of electrified tracks in the UK, with a major electrification program building or converting hundreds more over the coming decades.
In many areas the electricity grid doesn’t have the capacity to power the railway.
Track side solar panels would bypass the grid meaning more lines could be electrified, and solar could mean increased capacity on the railways.
The trial is the first of its kind.
If the feasibility study proves successful, the next step will be to prove the concept with a handful of real-world pilot projects.
We will know if the system works by the end of the year.
H/T: World Economic Forum