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: 02nd June 2018 11:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd June 2018 10:23 AM   |  A+A-

A Metro train from Little Mount entering the underground stretch | Martin Louis

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) said the new technology is contrary to the chilled water systems where refrigerants are 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 it 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 city’s soil condition is uneven, Chennai Metro is looking at technology wherein machines can be operated for all sort of soil conditions.

Chief general manager V K Singh said 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 corridor V is from Madhavaram Milk Colony to Sholinganallur and corridor IV 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, 1 km of elevated stretch costs around Rs 150 to Rs 200 crore while 1 km of underground stretch costs Rs 400 crore.

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. 400 kw solar power to be generated. This will be used for lighting and other purposes in underground stations.

One km of elevated stretch costs around Rs 150 to Rs 200 crore; underground stretch of same distance costs Rs 400 crore.

Only 55 km stretch of second phase will be taken up in three parts from July.

Central Square

Chennai: Work on the much-awaited Chennai Central Square is likely to start soon as contract will be awarded in a month or two, according to V K Singh. Catering to five lakh passengers per day, Chennai Central is situated at intersection of six rail corridors passing through the city — one MRTS, three suburban and two upcoming Metro rail corridors. The project was mooted by Chennai Metro Rail on March 6, 2015.

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