Wind Pressure from Trains To Generate Electricity [Innovation]

In Technology by NextBigWhat20 Comments

There are crazy ideas (read: innovative) and the latest comes from Santosh Pradhan, Nagpur based entrepreneur who claims to have developed a technology that harnesses wind pressure generated by a moving train and converts it into electricity.

As per Pradhan, every Km or railways network can generate 20.89 MW of power every day.

Wind pressure is created on the front surface of the engine of a moving train. This pressure can be harnessed using a system of turbo-chargers and impellers to generate a huge quantity of compressed air. A system of pipes and impellers can transmit this compressed air to the roof of the train. From there, it can be transferred to a matching system of impellers and pipes suspended from the fixtures of the overhead equipment above the track.
From the overhead fixtures, the compressed air could be directed into pressure tanks for storage, and can be used to rotate turbines or air turbine motors, Mr Pradhan said. These could be coupled to a generator to produce electricity or to any other device to convert the compressed air into some form of energy – source

Pradhan has already obtained the patent, and is yet to launch a prototype with Indian railways. Pradhan claims that his proposed solution can save 2586 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission in India alone.


  1. Keshava Ram

    Installing this system would require more engine power for driving the train itself. If we understand carefully as to what is the source of this air pressure, it is the train movement and in turn from the engine and the fuel ultimately. Law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed from one form to another. In this case then energy from fuel is transformed into engine movement this in turn into air pressure, which is now being planned to be harnessed. I think smarter move would be to save energy by reducing air pressure from surface by having cone shaped engine front as in Japanese Shinkansen.
    If this idea indeed works, then the same can be applied to all vehicles.

  2. naman

    I agree with Keshav.

    I discussed this idea with my teachers when i was in 7th std. In short i put it as “install a mini wind mill on every vehicle to harness the wind energy”.

    The reply i got was “the air friction on the blade of the wind mill would slow down the vehicle by a power greater than that is generated.”

    Anyways. Best of luck. I hope we see “brighter” things on the other side.

    Next: have a mini wind mill on every street lamp.

    i would be more than happy if it is successful but Indain Railways must have a bunch of fools to try this idea. And Mr. Santosh Pradhan must be having great links with the railway officers to convince them into this.

  3. Rohit

    Everything is impossible in the beginning, everything was once a crazy idea with many clearly visible drawbacks…one is not supposed to give up merely at the suggestion of present day experts or currently accepted theories…Hopefully Mr. Pradhan would demonstrate this at a smaller level soon…If not the bureaucratic Indian railway, he will have a chance with the Japanese and the Germans…

    1. Hitanshu Dewan

      He only has a chance with Indian Railways, and that too essentially because it is bureaucratic…
      Japanese and Germans recruit Degree Engineers to access the feasibility of proposed ideas.

    2. Rohit

      Not an MBA :) and also not so intelligent like you guys to know what all is not possible. I didn’t even read the whole article and his theory. But I would like to believe that everyone has the freedom to try and succeed or fail on his own.

      But I just wonder, why everyone is in a rush to prove that its a stupid idea? Haven’t you guys got any ideas of your own to work on?

  4. Parag

    Reminds me of Arundhati Roy’s movie, “In which Annie gives it to those ones”. In the movie, Annie’s thesis at the School of Planning & Architecture (SPA) is about planting trees (or, was it vegetables?) along the railway lines fertilized by you-know-what. By the way, that movie is arguably the best piece of work that Ms. Roy has every produced.

  5. arvind

    Alter the shape in the front of the engine like that of a bullet. The efficiency obtained by lowering the cost of running the train will far overshoot the process efficiency of harnessing wind-power against the running train.

    As the article puts it. It’s a crazy idea. And stupid too.

  6. Dheeraj

    +1 to Keshav. I don’t get how you can generate more power from the system than you are giving it!!

    If you generate electricity from the train, you will be slowing the train down….. won’t you!

  7. Hitanshu Dewan

    This only tells how stupidly non aerodynamical the trains in India are, with those flat fronts- those cuboids like engines, aerodynamics be damn; The calculations by Mr Pradan just prove that how much diesel gets wasted by the trains not designed properly…So, I would rather use these findings to convince the train makers to make better trains: aerodynamic, ligther in weight.

    Has anyone seen any change in the shape/make of train bogeys in the past 60 years? I really cant imagine any other country run such heavy and badly shaped trains at the speed of Shatabdi.

    I also have an Idea:
    There are a lot of trucks running with those pathetic, highly inefficient engines… So I propose to collect all the exhaust from there – because it has a lot of unburnt hydrocarbons – and then send them back to the oil companies…
    No, I decide not to rather install better engines: because those engines are our heritage.

    Anyone interested in funding my idea?

  8. Vivek Rajagopalan

    This is a mind blowing idea. The possibilities are endless.

    Since most trains trains nowadays run on electricity, we can feed the electricity generated by wind pressure back to the engine. The best part of this idea is the less aerodynamic the engine the more wind pressure and more power generation. So contrary to what the previous commentors say, the bullet shaped engine will generate less power and we will see a trend towards flat face “wall” shaped engines. One we perfect the electrical feedback from the turbines to the engine, we can also get rid of the overhead high tension cables.

    I hope the Indian Railways, Ministry of Science allocate the required time, personnel, and taxpayer money to support an extended evaluation and field trials of this gem of an idea.

    1. arvind

      hahaha… let’s nail this idea with Railways! “Remove the engine from the train and put it directly under NTPC’s turbine…

      To tap wind power we can ask Suzlon to put their wind-power turbine fans on top of the bogies to make a wind powered train…

      … and let’s put all the supporters of this idea aboard the train for another blissful ride on yet another perpetual motion machine.

    2. Hitanshu Dewan

      Why do you want to stop at flat face? Why not let evolution graduate towards concave, cup shaped fronts, such that not even a single shred of wind escape without contributing part of its energy to this one of its kind engine.
      That ways we will surely generate more evergy than we need for the train. Use the overhead cables to send that to the grid.
      Bye bye NTPC, welcome Indian Railways Power Corporation.

  9. krishnamurthy

    i have one idea that is big project as it is same method santosh pradhan sir installad.but very easy and less investment ,no fixing tanks ,only direct connect power line when train is running minimum 20 km speed that time also manufactring the current. supply directly on the line directly using for domestic and industry on the spot.

    if you want this idea call me 8050733069

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