Chennai Metro to try new technology to save water

Chennai Metro is now looking at alternate technology to cut down consumption of water in water-stressed Chennai to ensure its underground stretch remains operational in dry days.

Published: 31st May 2018 04:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st May 2018 04:51 AM   |  A+A-

A Metro train from Little Mount entering the underground stretch on Wednesday. More than 5 lakh people travelled in Chennai Metro in the last five days | Martin Louis

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Chennai Metro is now looking at alternate technology to cut down consumption of water in water-stressed Chennai to ensure its underground stretch remains operational in dry days.
The Chennai Metro, which requires 20,000 litres of water a day to ensure air conditioners in the underground stretch remain operational, is now looking at gas-based cooling technology to keep the stations cool.

L Narasim Prasad, Director (Systems and Operations) told Express that the new technology is contrary to the chilled water systems where refrigerant is used for cooling or heating the water that is circulated throughout the whole system. “It is a gas-based cooling system and we are implementing it for Phase-I extension,” said Prasad. Currently, Chennai Metro is tapping water from Metro Water as well as buying it through  tankers. This is costing the metro rail a fortune to run the underground stations. Apart from these sources, Chennai Metro is also looking at treated sewage water to ensure underground metro stations function, said Prasad.

Interestingly, it is not only new coolant technology, but also the new technology in digging tunnels which is now under consideration. As Chennai’s soil condition is uneven — at times and at times clay — Chennai Metro is looking at technology wherein machines can be operated for all sort of soil conditions.

Chief general manager V K Singh told Express that they may be looking at new specifications of tunnel boring machine in the second phase. “We may be raising this specification with tunnel boring machine manufacturers,” he said. The second phase initially will be taken up in three parts. Work will be taken up from July. The priority corridors are IV and V. The V corridor is from Madhavaram Milk Colony to Sholinganallur and IV corridor is from Light House to CMBT which is now being extended by another 15 km to Poonamallee. Initially, only a 55 km stretch will be taken up in three parts and detailed designs are being prepared, said Singh.

On the cost involved, Prasad said that on an average one km of elevated stretch costs around `150 to `200 crore while one km of underground stretch costs `400 crore. Meanwhile, Chennai Metro is planning to instal solar panels at Saidapet and Chennai Central  stations. “We will be installing solar panels in the next 10 to 15 days. The panels will generate 400kw of power which will be used for lighting and other purposes. We target to generate 1.25MW of solar power,” said Singh and Prasad.

Factbox
Chennai Metro is using 20,000 litres of water a day to ensure that the underground stretch remains cool
The Phase I extension will now use gas-based cooling system, thus resulting in less depen-dence on water to cool the stations
Solar panels to be installed at Saidapet and Chennai Central stations. 400kw solar power to be generated. This will be used for lighting and other purposes in underground stations
One km of elevated stretch costs around `150 to `200 crore; underground stretch of same distance costs the exchequer `400 crore
Only 55 km stretch of second phase will be taken up in 3 parts from July

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