Going Green With The Nationwide Bullet Train
I’m actually not an environmentalist in the traditional sense. I’m all for building things such as the Keystone XL pipeline and the use of oil. However, what I do advocate for and what they’re already starting to do, is making the burning of fossil fuels less toxic to the environment. What I mean is, there are power plants across the US and the world that are filtering pollution produced and putting less emissions into the air, which is great. This needs to continue to happen.
What I’m also for is the continuing use of installing solar panels, wind turbines, hydro electric power, and other forms of green energy. Yes, these forms of power are better for the environment, and the costs in recent years have started to go way down, making them more effective. And this will continue to happen as more competition arises and lowering prices. Solar panels are becoming more and more efficient as this happens as well, which is great news all the way around.
In regards to the national bullet train network, there is a huge opportunity to capitalize on green energy. There will be all kinds of wide open land available next to where the train tracks run. This opportunity should not be passed up by any means. It would provide for a way for the entire system to be powered by green energy, and to make a profit while generating power for other areas of the country. That seems like a huge win-win to me.
So how will this bullet train network begin to utilize the network? First, there would be a roof constructed overhead the bullet train tracks. This structure would be about 25 to 35 feet above the train track and would serve 2 purposes: To use both sides of the roof and mount massive amounts of solar panels, and to provide a shelter for inclement weather such as rainstorms and snowstorms.
The shelter would be high enough that it would cause minimal obstruction of view from the windows inside the train. The panels would also provide a massive way to collect and harvest rainwater. The water would be collected into large size gutters and create slopes that empty into a hydroelectric power source. After the water goes through the power source, it would then be treated, purified and sent out as drinking water. With a national network of over 60,000 miles of train tracks, this would provide a massive source of harvesting rainwater.
The amount of solar panels that would be constructed on the roof would easily set a new world record, would dwarf past any solar farm built to date. What’s even more exciting is, it wouldn’t be just the roof of the structure where the panels would be installed. It would also be installed on the ground level, below the elevated portion of the train, creating another massive network of solar panels. Could you imagine the power generated from solar panels in the American Southwest over several thousands of miles?
Yes, the cost to build a massive network of solar panels would be incredibly expensive into the several billions of dollars. But the goal is to build it so big as to make a profit from the power they would generate and in that way help the bullet train network as a whole to become more profitable.
As for the roof itself, besides the solar panels, would help the bullet train stay operational during inclement weather. It would provide shelter from rain, snow, sleet, hail and heavy winds. In addition to the roof, there would be another system attached to the bottom of the roof that would activate and lower from the sides to block wind, rain, snow, hail, and anything else trying to get onto the bullet train tracks.
There are several areas of the country to harvest rainwater. Especially in heavier rainstorms, the water flow would provide a very strong current and generate a constant, high flow of power while it’s raining. The potential for this is enormous. Snowstorms would also generate a lot of power from water as well because the roof would be warmed up to around 45 degrees, causing the snow to melt into water and generate power that way. This would be very effective in several places including upstate New York (where I grew up!) and the New England region. The Great Lakes area would also significantly contribute rainwater from snow in this way as well.
And finally, there would be many wind turbines built as well. These turbines would be placed in high wind areas of the country and would sit a distance away from the track, as to not ruin the view directly from outside the window. Areas north in Texas such as Amarillo and Lubbock have some of the highest average wind speeds in the country. Several wind turbine power plants would be built there to take advantage of the wind speed there.
There are other alternative forms of generating clean, green energy that would definitely be explored. One form of power I’m interested in taking a closer look at would be wave generators. These are placed in the ocean and take advantage of waves eventually hitting the beaches on shore. These power plants would be placed quite a distance away from the shoreline as to not ruin the experience of beach goers. Wave generators are already in use near Japan and they are expanding their use of them. It’s definitely worth a look into to see if this could be incorporated to generate power.
Once this network of wind turbines, solar panels, and hydroelectric power is built out, not only will it generate enough power for the entire bullet train network to operate, but provide excess power to start generating power for consumer use in homes. It’s a start to helping our country start generating more alternative power, but a lot more will be needed if we want our entire country to be fully dependent on green energy.