Tuesday, October 6, 2020

HyrdroFLEX, UK’s First Hydrogen-Powered Train, Made its Debut

Baby steps, but still steps.

From TechStartups, October 1:

In June 2019, we wrote about HydroFlex after the United Kingdom unveiled its first hydrogen train. The launch was part of UK’s effort to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. HydroFlex is the result of a partnership between Porterbrook, provider of rail leasing and asset management support, and the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE). The HydroFLEX project is supported by a £750,000 grant from the Department for Transport.

Unlike conventional trains, the HydroFLEX train uses a fuel-cell that combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity, heat, and water.  The development of HydroFLEX marks an important step in the development of eco-friendly trains of the future that could help to de-carbonize Britain’s railway. At the time of launch, the team said that HydroFLEX will be tested on the mainline railway following a successful proof-of-concept.

Now, the time has come. Yesterday, HydroFLEX made its mainline debut with an initial journey successfully completed between the locations of Long Marston and Evesham in the West Midlands region of England. The trials follow almost two years of development work by BCRRE and Porterbrook.

The train used in the trials is a converted Class 319 dual voltage train fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell that enables it to run purely on hydrogen on non-electrified routes. Unlike diesel trains, hydrogen-powered trains do not emit harmful gases, instead of using hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, water, and heat. HydroFLEX uses a hydrogen fuel tank, the fuel-cell, and lithium-ion batteries for storage. It’s hoped that the technology will be available to retrofit trains already in use by the year 2023....