Goldenrock Workshop, Southern Railway has been taking various initiatives in consistently improving the environment and reducing the carbon footprint during the course of maintenance of various Rolling stocks. In one such unique initiative, Goldenrock workshop has installed a Parabolic Solar Concentrator based water heating system in place of existing electrical heaters for supplying hot water for soaking and cleaning of various components like Bogie frames, brake rigging components, engine blocks, axle boxes of various rolling stock.
The Parabolic Solar Concentrator was commissioned by Shri John Thomas, General Manager, Southern Railway online through videoconferencing on 09.12.2021 during the Annual Inspection of Trichy Division, in the presence of Shri Shyamadar Ram, Chief Workshop Manager, Golden Rock Workshop, Principal Heads of Departments, Officers, Supervisors and Staff of GOC workshop.
The Solar concentrator consists of 6 nos. of parabolic mirror reflectors of 16 m2 area, called Scheffler concentrator, which focuses the Sun’s radiation on 6 separate receivers placed in front of them at a fixed height. Receivers are interconnected with pipelines for circulation of water from a storage tank based on Thermosyphon principle.
In order to use the solar energy efficiently throughout the day, the axis of the reflector dishes are aligned with the axis of the sun rays throughout the day through an automatic tracking system. once in 20 seconds one electronic timer sends signal for the operation of DC motor which in turn pulls the rope mechanism by which all the 6 dishes are tilted to a certain degree on the North South Axis. In this manner the dishes rotate regularly upto sun set thereby tracking the sun’s movement from morning (east) to evening (west).
The system is capable of heating the water upto 82oc required for various processes. A Water temperature Indicator provided in the Collection tank/outlet pipe connection shows outlet water temperature. Proper insulation covering the storage tank and pipeline has been made to avoid heat loss from the hot water.The unit is capable of supplying 10,000 litres of hot water per day using only solar energy in peak period. Backup electric heater is also provided in the system as a “standby” to supply hot water during rainy/cloudy days.
With the installation of the solar concentrator system in lieu of conventional electric heater, the shop is expected to save around 1.9 lakh units of electric energy and an amount of Rs.15.27 lakhs per year with this innovation using Solar Energy. Also, this will enable the workshop to achieve a reduction in carbon footprint to the tune of 1,58,410 kg of CO2 per year. The indigenous initiative to tap Solar Energy for water heating for industrial use is unique and also first of its kind in Indian Railways, and is in alignment with the (Atma Nirbhar) Make in India policy of the Govt.