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Public Transportation and Smart Growth

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Fri Feb 16, 2024, 10:01 AM Feb 16

Paris's New Weapons in Climate Fight Are Metro Turnstiles and the Seine [View all]

Paris’s New Weapons in Climate Fight Are Metro Turnstiles and the Seine
No contribution can seem too small to pursue in taking on the challenges of a changing planet.

By Sophie Stuber
February 16, 2024 at 12:01 AM EST

(Bloomberg CityLab) When it comes to fighting climate change, every bit counts. At least, that was the thinking behind a small test project last summer at a metro station in Paris, the city where the world’s first legally binding climate accord was signed.

Commuters who went through turnstiles at the Miromesnil station in central Paris powered mini turbines, converting kinetic energy into electricity. During the two-day pilot project, 27,000 people crossed six turnstiles — a tiny fraction of the more than 1.5 billion passengers who use the French capital’s metro system annually. The energy produced was minuscule, but if installed across the city’s metro network, these turbines could produce 136 megawatts a year, saving 30,000 tons of CO2, according to Iberdrola SA, the Spanish energy company in charge of the project.

An upgrade across the metro system won’t happen anytime soon since it’s deemed too expensive, but the trial is an indication of emerging climate ideas. Iberdrola partnered with students at French engineering school JUNIA to design and install the mini turbines for the pilot project. The students are now working on developing more viable future iterations of the technology that can be used in metros in Paris, Madrid, Santiago and beyond, said Victoire Talleux, one of the four students on the project.

“If we transform an object into an autonomous energy generator, we can have a much lower carbon footprint than today, even if each singular object does not produce a ton of energy,” Talleux said. The turnstiles at Miromesnil powered signs in the metro station, but energy generated from future projects could be more widely used. ...............(more)


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