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100% Electrification? Yes! But One Sector Denies.

The world is heading towards the electrification very rapidly. It is very important to note that the use of electric energy will definitely help in the reduction of harmful pollutants from conventional fuels and also to fulfil energy needs. Fortunately, Innovative minds of human have developed numerous methods to generate electric energy such as solar, wind, hydro etc.
There are many sectors where electrification is the new hope for a better environment such as transportation, industrial etc. In the upcoming decade, electrification will stimulate the growth rate of developing countries like China and India. But one sector where 100% electrification seems possible but not profitable that is Railway Transportation sector.

According to reports on global electrification, China has a total of 121000 Kilometres railway routes from which only 65000 kilometres routes are electrified which are nearly 54% of the total. Similarly, One of the most advanced nation Japan has a total of 27000 kilometres railway routes from which 19000 kilometres is electrified which is barely 70%. But the USA is far behind, As only 8% of the total routes in the country is electrified. So what is stopping these Rich and advanced nations to 100% electrify their railway sector? Money? But money is not the case, the main reason is profit. Electrification needs infrastructure but there are many regions in the countries where the density of passengers is to low. Or there are many natural areas such as dessert, mountains etc. where electrification is possible but not beneficial because of no profit. Hence 100% electrification in railway sector seems difficult. But what next? Should we keep using diesel? Big NO!

The world is already suffering from lots of pollution pain due to extra use of traditional fuels. also, conventional fuels are depleting very rapidly and estimated to last in the next few decades. Hence, there is a need to find a replacement of diesel which should be equally effective and less harmful for the environment. and as per my research Biodiesel is the best and most effective replacement of diesel. This fuel is cheaper and environmentally friendly and which can be more profitable for each sector. and most importantly Our Diesel Railway sector should focus on biodiesel.

Rupam Wani's picture

Thank Rupam for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 21, 2020 4:21 pm GMT

Hence, there is a need to find a replacement of diesel which should be equally effective and less harmful for the environment. and as per my research Biodiesel is the best and most effective replacement of diesel. This fuel is cheaper and environmentally friendly and which can be more profitable for each sector. and most importantly Our Diesel Railway sector should focus on biodiesel.

What would the timeline be to get a switch in the railway sector to biodiesel by your estimates? And how much quicker would that be than just going straight to electrification? I'm curious if the 'bridge' approach is prudent for the short term benefits or if it will just delay the ultimate electrification?

Rupam Wani's picture
Rupam Wani on Jan 21, 2020 5:18 pm GMT

Hey, matt!

Your question is very valuable. you are again and again using one word 'Bridge' but I would like to correct you here that why should we only consider biofuels as just a bridge? Here, we should think of the long term. Yes, I also agree that electricity is the best form of energy for the future. but do you know electricity also lacks in the areas where high torque is required such as heavy-duty vehicles, aeroplanes etc? hence, we need 'fuels'  which will fulfil all the requirements not a single fuel. 

As I stated in my article that if an advanced country like Japan is not interested in 100% electrification in Railway Sector then its very difficult for developing and poor countries to dream about 100% electrification. Hence my viewpoint is we should work on both Biofuel and Electricity simultaneously. because only one will not fulfil our energy requirements.

I hope you will get it.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 21, 2020 10:41 pm GMT

Appreciate your response, Rupam-- and I definitely agree, the transportation sector generally is a tough one, especially air/sea travel, where electrification seems like a pipe dream due to the energy densities provided by fuels and not electricity. Will be an interesting sector to watch, no doubt

Rupam Wani's picture
Rupam Wani on Jan 22, 2020 2:47 am GMT

Yes, Definitely!

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