10274Re: Fuel-Sipping Trains
- Jun 17, 2007Actually, this brings up a question I've been wondering for some time. In an era of dwindling
oil supplies, are we better off with jets or ships? 747 or QM2? Or is there another solution?
> "The obvious replacements for planes are scarcely better. Fast passenger ships appear tobe even worse for the environment than jets. ... [Paragraph] Nor are ultra-high-speed trains
the answer. Though trains traveling at normal speeds have much lower carbon emissions
than airplanes, Professor Roger Kemp of Lancaster University shows that energy consumption
rises dramatically at speeds above 125 miles per hour. Increasing the speed from 140 to 220
mph almost doubles the amount of fuel burned. If the trains are powered by electricity, and if
that electricity is produced by plants burning fossil fuels, they cause more CO2 emissions
than planes. Running trains on renewable electricity is certainly possible, but this faces
problems: Trains must run on time, and that means there is little room for 'demand
management,' which means reducing the electricity load in response to fluctuations in
supply. In all transport systems, high performance is incompatible with low consumption.
The faster you go, the more energy you need."
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