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Britain’s first hydrogen powered train leaves the station



The UK’s first hydrogen powered train, HydroFLEX, is being trialled this week for the first time on a mainline railway.

HydroFlex is the UK's first hydrogen powered train, currently being tested for potential passenger use in 2022
(Image via BBC)

If successful, it’s hoped to carry passengers within the next two or three years

Run by a partnership of rail leasing and asset management company Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), the project involves fitting a hydrogen powerpack to an existing Class 319 train which would eventually allow it to run on conventional electrified routes as well as independently.

“Sustainability and innovation are integral to what we do here at Porterbrook, and so we are tremendously proud to have played a key role in designing and building the UK’s first hydrogen train,” said Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook.

“This is a first test but we are excited about being in a position to provide HydroFLEX as a viable offering very soon. Britain’s railway has a key part to play in reducing transport emissions and we are committed to helping our customers play an important role in delivering this.”

The train was previously showcased at an event in the West Midlands, where the carbon-free benefits of it were highlighted.

How a hydrogen powered train works
(Image via BBC)

The train works piping hydrogen, stored in high pressure tanks, to the fuel cell where it is mixed with oxygen to create electricity, which is then stored in lithium batteries to power the train. The only outputs from the process are electricity, water and heat.

Currently only two hydrogen trains in the world are in active service - both in Germany. Britain is hoping to be the next country to start running them.

“This is a great success story for the UK Rail Industry, which shows our capability and commitment to helping the government meet decarbonisation targets,” commented Alex Burrows, Director at Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education.

“Key to this success is the close partnership between academia and industry which has enabled us to pool the expertise needed to rapidly progress this technology from concept to full-scale working demonstrator. This partnership between the University of Birmingham and Porterbrook has been a trailblazer for academia and industry accelerating ideas into practical application on the railway. We look forward to the next phase of this project which will take this technology onto the UK railway.”

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Tags: Engineering
Recent Comments
Zero emission?? Where the heck (H2) came from?? From the sky?? Who drives RO units and hydrogen compressors?? Burn GAS in power stations, and run trains with e-motors, vs produce H2 with compressors, give it to Fuel-Cells, Batteries?? Heavy?? Trains running on AA Batteries?? Really, just WHO are the Einstein(s) (Ph.D. and Politico/Enviro-Fanaticos) behind all this? Throw them in slammer and get rid of the keys.
Andre Gurses, 26 June 2019
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Britain’s first hydrogen powered train leaves the station - Time to read 3 min
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