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[Ambassador report] Environmental Benefits and Downsides: Maglev Trains

by Keitaro Hanzawa | 20-10-2020 16:28 Comments 4 recommendations 0

Environmental Benefits: Maglev Trains 

In Japan, the introduction of the Maglev train has been a controversial topic. Maglev trains are, to put it simply, trains powered by magnetics, eddy currents, the attraction and repulsion of magnets. These are what run a maglev train. Japan has always planned to implement Maglev trains between its core cities the first of which is between Tokyo(the capital) and Nagoya(A major business hub). This Maglev Train is to be called Linimo.  However, the effectiveness of these Maglev Trains have come under scrutiny as its upfront cost is quite large, amassing roughly $52 billion for construction. Obviously this is a point of contention for Japanese citizens...are the benefits worth it?

Today, I will be examining the Environmental Benefits and negatives rather than the practicality of these trains.

The opportunity for maglev trains to reduce energy consumption is a large one. Since, these trains are completely electric and utilize superconducting magnets. The main benefit I see is that these trains consume 30% less energy than their counterparts(Northeastmaglev). Other than the use of magnets, these maglev trains are much better at overcoming air resistance, due to its streamlined shape and lack of friction. Furthermore, like most modern trains Maglev ones don’t create any direct sources of carbon pollution, but unlike commercial trains, the noise pollution is much lower. 

However, Maglev trains have some downsides for the environment. Firstly there is a necessity for added construction as the infrastructure for maglev trains needs to be built from scratch. This construction process goes through mountains and through wildlife, disrupting the ecosystem for the benefit of high speed rail(Ogawa). On top of that, the tunnels that need to be dug permanently deform the landscape of the country. Obviously, this poses implications for the environment. The conversation that sparks is...is it worth it to harm the environment for the benefit of maglev trains? For technological progress?  

Today, I think that Maglevs are an inevitable part of our future as it's the physical manifestation of our technological advances. Though they are a probable part of our future, there is cause for concern, not only is the upfront cost incredibly large, the environmental downsides might even out weigh the benefits that come from Maglev trains.


“Environmental Benefits - Green Energy.” Northeast Maglev, 14 Oct. 2020, northeastmaglev.com/environmental-benefits/.

Ogawa, Kazuhiro. “Japan's Maglev Pits New Artery against the Environment.” Nikkei Asia, Nikkei Asia, 26 June 2020, asia.nikkei.com/Business/Transportation/Japan-s-maglev-pits-new-artery-against-the-environment.


SJ Mentor

  • SJ Mentor says :
    Hello Keitaro!
    It's your SJ mentor.

    Warm greetings from Korea!
    Thank you for introducing your wonderful report concerning Maglev Train.
    As technology innovates, people want more convenience and want to use advanced system.
    But to construct new social infrastructure, environmental destruction occurs.
    So, I think proper environmental impact assessment must be precede in order to reduce the effect of development to the nature.
    Maglev Train can save 30% of energy compared to other trains so that less greenhouse gases can be generated while producing electricity.
    If durability life of maglev train is longer than others we should acquire maglev train.
    Do you have an idea about serviceability?

    Hope things are fine with you.

    SJ mentor.
    Posted 02-11-2020 10:40

Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Greetings keitaro
    I hope you are doing well
    Very informative
    Thank you so much for this report
    Keep writing
    Green cheers
    Asmita Gaire
    Posted 28-10-2020 11:40

Mun WooJooMentor

  • Mun WooJooMentor says :
    Hello Keitaro,
    this is your mentor WooJoo.

    Thank you for sharing such an informative report about Maglev Trains.
    I guess this train is the one that can travel longer distances at higher speed, and they are testing before its use.
    It is nice that it can save about 30% of energy compared to other ones.
    If I'am not mistaken, South Korea has been using one of Magnetic levitation train at the International airport of Incheon.
    Hopefully we can extend its use to consume less energy and decrease the amount of CO2 emission.
    I agree that new constructions for rail will cause deforestation, noise pollution, destroying of wildlife habitat etc.
    I hope they find the best way to damage the environment as less as possible.

    Thank you once again.


    Posted 25-10-2020 04:22

Puja Khadka

  • Puja Khadka says :
    Hello Keitaro,
    Greetings from Nepal!
    I hope you are all good.
    Firstly thank you for sharing such an informative report.
    It is so good to know about Maglev train.
    Keep sharing more and more.
    With Regards,
    Puja khadka
    Posted 21-10-2020 11:54

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