Iosa Ghini Associati has designed the Energy Belt, a sleek solar-powered monorail system for Bologna, Italy that will connect the airport to the city center. The system’s smoothly sculpted lines run above the countryside, providing great views for travelers. The monorail will also provide infrastructure for other uses, namely a pedestrian walkway alongside the tracks and a solar system that runs along the rail’s southern face.
The Energy Belt was designed to speedily move people from the main train station in Bologna out to the airport with only one intermediate stop at Lazzaretto. It crosses over one major highway, spanning the stretch of road in a graceful arc. At each station a metal screen covered in vegetation protects passengers from the elements, and also helps filter the air, provide natural insulation and shade the platform.
The system is designed to operate using solar energy captured by photovoltaic panels placed at each monorail station and along the track’s south-facing side. Since the solar system installed directly on the monorail infrastructure, the landscape below is not disturbed with extra equipment. Running at a height from 7 meters up to 25 meters, the Energy Belt monorail is supported by slender piers, giving the system a very small footprint along its 5,084 meters of track.
Solar powered, direct, convenient, and fast – the monorail system offers an enticing option for travelers looking to take it easy rather than driving to the airport. Its highly probable that a monorail would be more expensive than a ground level light rail system, but where’s the novelty and graceful architecture in that?