New Hybrid Locomotive Uses Passengers for Fuel

Bern, Switzerland, June 22, 2009 -- A ground-breaking high-technology hybrid bio-locomotive developed by the European OTG Consortium is slated to make its maiden commercial voyage tomorrow between the cities of Bern, Switzerland and Rome.

The innovative train, dubbed the "People-Eater", runs with virtually no external fuel source, relying instead on energy generated by the direct and indirect activities of its passengers. OTG says the bio-locomotive promises a new era of efficiency and economy in long-distance personal transport, and hopes the People-Eater will eventually replace all traditional high-emission diesel locomotive engines worldwide over the next 20-30 years.

The People-Eater, officially titled the MSBE 3000 (for "multi-source bio-energy"), utilizes a vast range of energy production and reclamation technologies that allow it to run with neither an external electricity source nor any on-board fuel, beyond a small emergency stock.

Primary propulsion is supplied by a high-efficiency 12,000 horsepower electric engine that is driven by a storage bank of over 3,000 lead-free rechargeable storage batteries. That, in and of itself, is nothing new. Diesel-electric hybrid locomotives, which themselves bring vast efficiency increases and emissions reductions to rail transport, have been in operation since as early as 2005.

The People-Eater, however, adds a number of additional twists that allow it to reduce fuel consumption and emissions to effectively zero.

Launching the train from a standstill at a station remains the most fuel-intensive stage of most train journeys. The People-Eater accomplishes this with a sophisticated mechanical magnetic propulsion system that can be operated remotely by technicians on the train or at the station. A sequenced magnet chain located next to the rails is timed to interact with a similar chain of magnets mounted along the train's undercarriage. When the sequence is activated, the train is silently propelled from the station and accelerated to its lower cruising speed through the process of magnetic repulsion.

When the train has achieved an initial velocity level, additional acceleration is applied incrementally by the on-board electric engine. Batteries are automatically recharged whenever the train applies its brakes, such as while descending a hill or entering a station, just as on a traditional hybrid passenger automobile.

Additionally, virtually every internal surface of the train contains tiny kinetic energy turbines developed using nanotechnology. Energy is generated whenever a passenger rises, sits, or squirms in his or her seat, walks up or down the aisle, or opens or closes a window or door. While each of these actions generates only a tiny amount of energy, the cumulative effect is considerable.

All waste material generated by the passengers and crew is similarly captured using accelerated biomass reducers that convert biological effluents from the rest rooms, bar and dining cars to energy with a high degree of efficiency. Any waste that is not fully utilized during one journey is stored for the next one.

Heat and ambient electricity generated by passengers' bodies and neural activity is absorbed through capture devices located in the seats and roof of the train, and similarly converted and fed into the batteries.

When the climactic conditions are favorable, a heat-exchange generator creates energy by capitalizing on the difference between the internal and external temperatures of the train's cabins.

Finally, the roof of each of the train's cars sports an array of photovoltaic panels that continually capture energy from the sun, together with thousands of tiny pop-up wind turbines that are activated during breaking.

The combined effect of the on-board generators coupled with energy supplied by the battery banks provide enough power to keep the train moving at a constant velocity of up to 250 km / hour.

A small ethanol-fueled generator is carried on board in the event of multiple systems failure during, for example, a long hill climb, but, according to OTG, it has never yet been needed during the train's thousands of kilometers of testing.

OTG predicts that ticket prices for a ride on the People-Eater, which is thus far only intended for long-distance rail transport, can be as low as one half the price of a ticket on a traditional locomotive, due to the immense savings in fuel costs. Advance orders have already been received from several major European rail carriers, while Japan has expressed significant interest in the locomotive technologies for its sophisticated rail network.

India and China, however, with two of the world's most extensive and most heavily polluting rail systems, have said they "plan to stick with diesel, for now."

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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