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Delhi Metro makes a profit by reducing its carbon footprint

The first project that earned the DMRC carbon credits was the ‘regenerative braking’ system.

Written by Sumegha Gulati | New Delhi | Published: September 27, 2014 12:18:33 am
Carbon credits are like shares that are sold in  the international market with a view to mitigate the growth in concentrations of greenhouse gases. Carbon credits are like shares that are sold in the international market with a view to mitigate the growth in concentrations of greenhouse gases.

After earning carbon credits through regenerative braking, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is now making profits from its second project — Modal Shifts — by successfully reducing its carbon footprint and selling the credits thus earned in the international market.

Speaking to Newsline, DMRC Director (Finance) K K Saberwal said the organisation is earning a part of its income by selling carbon credits — the first Metro system in the world to reportedly achieve the feat.

Carbon credits are like shares that are sold in the international market with a view to mitigate the growth in concentrations of greenhouse gases. One carbon credit is equal to one metric tonne of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalent gases.

“It’s a unique aspect of DMRC — we earn by selling carbon credits. One project was already sanctioned by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. But now, we are earning revenue from our second project — the Modal Shift. DMRC has been able to demonstrate that the carbon footprint of travelling by Metro is less than that caused while travelling in other modes of transport. Thus, we were able to earn carbon credits and sell them in the international market,” he said.

Currently, about 25 lakh people travel by the Metro, which is a non-polluting and an environment friendly system. Had the Metro not been there, these people would have travelled by cars, buses, two- and three-wheelers, which would have resulted in higher emission of greenhouse gases. Thus, the United Nations Body administering the clean development mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol has certified that the DMRC has helped reduce emissions, Saberwal said.

The income from sale of carbon credits, however, has dwindled over the years, Saberwal said. “The CERs (Certified Emission Reductions) was selling as high as $20 per certificate at one point in the carbon market. Today, it is less than a euro. The West’s own attempts to reduce carbon footprints has impacted the cost of CERs. But it is still important for us as the phenomenon only proves that the DMRC is an extremely clean mode of transport.”

The first project that earned the DMRC carbon credits was the ‘regenerative braking’ system under the clean development mechanism, Saberwal said.

“Whenever our trains apply brakes, three phase-traction motors produce electrical energy which goes back into the overhead electricity lines. Accelerating trains — running on the same line — use this regenerated energy, thus saving on the overall energy use,” he said.

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