7 Steps into the future: 7


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Solar tunnel

Trains are a relatively climate-friendly way to travel, but still use an enormous amount of energy. Currently, this comes from diesel or electricity – the latter typically supplied by coal-fired plants. Fully solar-powered trains are a long way off, but Europe has just opened its first solar railway tunnel in Belgium, supplementing the high-speed line between Paris and Amsterdam. More than 50,000 square metres of solar panels cover the 3.4-kilometre tunnel’s roof, generating enough energy to light up local signals and stations, and power the equivalent of Belgium’s entire train fleet for one day per year – while decreasing CO2 emissions by 2,400 tonnes annually.

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