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Greenrail, innovative and sustainable railway sleepers: the greener solution for railway sector

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Greenrail (Greenrail, innovative and sustainable railway sleepers: the greener solution for railway sector)

Reporting period: 2016-10-01 to 2017-09-30

Greenrail is a sustainable railway sleeper made of a concrete inner core with an outer shell made of recycled plastic and End of Life Tyres (ELTs).
Every kilometre of railway line armed with Greenrail sleepers can recover up to 35 tons of ELTs and recycled plastic.
The railway sector hasn’t been innovated during the past 50 years and nowadays 80% of the global sleepers are still made of pre stressed concrete.
The concrete sleepers present several weaknesses such as high rigidity, inhomogeneous pressure distribution between the lower contact surface of concrete sleeper and the ballast, high pulverization of ballast, low resistance to lateral displacement high noise, high vibration and high maintenance costs.
Greenrail represents the solution for the listed problems.
As a matter of fact, Greenrail sleeper is able to reduce the rigidity, the vibration and noise, the ballast pulverization and to lengthen the lifespan cutting the maintenance costs.
Furthermore, Greenrail, thanks to the outer shell made of second raw materials, is contributing to the Circular Economy principles’ development, following also the European directives, which are driving the transport sector to a new sustainable mobility.
Greenrail is the only sustainable sleeper able to integrate smart technologies for harvesting energy and communicating the diagnostic data.
The company is also deeply involved in the R&D activities for Greenrail Solar, Greenrail LinkBox and Greenrail Piezo - sleepers are able to integrate photovoltaic panels and smart sensors.
The overall objective of the project is to make Greenrail sleepers become the new sustainable standard in the railway sector, offering technical, environmental and socio-economic advantages.
The specific objectives include: the launch of Greenrail Basic onto the market by the end of 2017; the improvement of R&D activities of Greenrail Piezo, Solar and LinkBox, and the commercialization and set up of first manufacturing plant.
Greenrail in the first twelve months of the project achieved all the goals foreseen so far.
The design and the production phase has been developed to produce the first stock of Greenrail Basic sleepers in order to conduct all the mechanical tests required for the certification.
Their results following the Italian and European specifications are positive.
Meanwhile, the system requirements with the selection and first validation of photovoltaic panels, sensors and piezo systems have been evaluated and tested for the design of the first prototypes of Greenrail smart sleepers planned in the second half of the project.

Furthermore, the commercial negotiations have started with potential clients from European and extra-European countries, and the first manufacturing plant’s design has been created and shared with the potential partners.
Greenrail, during the reported period, has also hired 4 new professional figures for the project’s implementation.
Greenrail vision is based on the conviction that the future and planet’s protection cannot leave out the development of a sustainable industry.
The company mission is to find the most efficient and sustainable solutions in the railway sector, able to generate value and wealth for the market, civil society and environment.
As documented in our Feasibility study for Phase 1, there is a positive growth trend both for ELTs and recycled plastic markets - growing sectors in European and extra-European countries.
Such recyclable waste management contributes to the creation of new markets, especially when the second life products markets does not exist yet. Creation of new markets means new business and new green jobs opportunities, driving significant benefits to society and to the railway infrastructure’s development.
In addition, Greenrail sleepers reduce railway noise and vibration, which is especially beneficial for the densely inhabited areas and at the same time improves the quality of the journey for the passengers of the train.
The structure of the sleeper allows also to reduce the ordinary maintenance costs with a positive economic impact for the potential clients.
Greenrail aims at becoming the new sustainable standard for the railway sector and the expected results are also related to the improvement of the three smart products, i.e. Greenrail Solar, LinkBox and Piezo. The innovation introduced by the Smart sleepers is related to the opportunity to transform the railway line into a photovoltaic field, and to communicate diagnostic data for train safety.
Greenrail technology allows a significant contribution to the waste management issue, notably improving the quality of railway infrastructure at the same time.
The first stretch of Greenmail track