For the climate conscious (and it would make a cool model)…..
A California startup is repurposing trains and rail cars to help renewable energy utilities compete with fossil fuels.
What goes up must come down. This principle applies to most things in our current gravitational setup — college tuition being a conspicuous exception — and it could provide a significant boost to green energy initiatives, too.
A California-based company called Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES) is using the power of gravity to help renewable energy utilities compete with coal and gas. The idea is to help solve the perennial problem of energy storage. Because wind and solar installations can’t always generate energy on demand — sometimes it’s cloudy and the air is still — green utilities need a reliable method of storing surplus energy.
There are several ways to do this using high-tech industrial batteries, flywheels, or hydroelectric facilities, but these approaches tend to be expensive and complicated.
ARES’s solution? Run some old trains up and down a hill.
Read all about it here. I suspect you need more space for this than we have in the UK – even Lickey or Shap may be problematical stopping the train at the bottom of the incline. But it would be a very simple conversion of some old US stock to confound the average punter at a show…..