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Hydrogen trains to “Breeze” ahead on British railways

 
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Mark



Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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Location: NW England

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:29 pm    Post subject: Hydrogen trains to “Breeze” ahead on British railways Reply with quote

Hydrogen trains to “Breeze” ahead on British railways:
https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/hydrogen-trains-to-breeze-ahead-on-british-railways/


Hydrogen trains could represent the future of railways. They are cleaner, quieter and cheaper to run than diesel trains. One French company is now set to make them mainstream in Britain. Hydrogen trains are greener, quieter and and cheaper to manage than conventional diesel trains. They also don't require expensive install expensive electrification infrastructure - image courtesy of Alstom. Hydrogen trains are greener, quieter and and cheaper to manage than conventional diesel trains. They also don’t require expensive install expensive electrification infrastructure – image courtesy of Alstom.

Alstom has announced a deal with rolling stock company Eversholt Rail to convert more than 100 diesel trains to be fuelled by hydrogen. The trains, which are named Breeze, are set to run on commuter and suburban lines by early 2021 and will be converted at Alstom’s train modernisation facility in Widnes, Cheshire. It will be the first time an existing train fleet has been converted this way anywhere in the world. Alstom and Eversholt will convert Class 321 trains to run on hydrogen fuel cell technology. The four-carriage trains will be converted to three carriages as part of the process. The trains are expected to hit top speeds of 87 mph and will house hydrogen gas storage tanks at the front and rear third of the train. The technology involves hydrogen mixing with oxygen produced from the air to produce electricity. The hydrogen is burned while excess energy is stored in a backup lithium-ion battery. No carbon is emitted; the hydrogen trains emit water. Alstom have already created the Coradia iLint passenger train models, the first passenger train in the world to be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, which debuted in Germany last year. It now operates hydrogen trains in regular passenger service on a daily basis. The plan is supported by the Department of Transport, who say it will allow train operators to scrap diesel trains without hugely expensive overhead power lines needing to be installed. In Germany, which has traditionally been reliant on diesel engines, 40% of the rail network is not electrified.

Mike Muldoon, Alstom UK & Ireland’s Head of Business Development & Marketing, told The Manufacturer that hydrogen trains should be common on regional routes within the next five years, with first trains appearing in the UK in the next two to three years. He also said that the first full Coradia iLint fleet should be in service by that time. He said hydrogen was best suited to replacing diesel services especially where electrification is not economically viable or is otherwise undesirable. He added: “Hydrogen and electrification are complementary technologies that between them can deliver network wide decarbonisation together with improved passenger experience.” Asked if hydrogen trains are cheaper to run than diesel, he responded: “Yes, over their life hydrogen trains are cheaper to run than diesel. This can be expected to become more pronounced as the technology matures, as hydrogen gets cheaper to produce due to increased demand and as diesel becomes more constrained by increased emissions control requirements.”

Aside from the zero emissions, there are many advantages of hydrogen trains. Switchyards and maintenance areas would be much cleaner, because oily emissions would not assemble on tracks and on surrounding lands. They can also be refuelled rapidly just like diesel engines. A single hydrogen “charge” can power a train for 600 miles, enabling it to last a whole day on an urban route. On the other hand, hydrogen can be highly flammable and explosive and the initial costs of purchasing a hydrogen train will be somewhat more expensive. Hydrogen trains are also only as green as the source of their battery power. Most hydrogen is generated via natural gas reforming, which emits CO2 as a byproduct. Hydrogen trains are only set to become more popular though. France expects its first hydrogen trains by 2022 while here in Britain, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling expects hydrogen trains to be a reality by the early 2020s. The hydrogen trains are green and clean. Whether it will mean fewer delays and miserable morning commutes on Southern Rail is another matter entirely.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'zero emissions' - a bit like nuclear then? Laughing
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The catch is buried in the last paragraph.
Quote:
Hydrogen trains are also only as green as the source of their battery power. Most hydrogen is generated via natural gas reforming, which emits CO2 as a byproduct.

I'd like to see how much CO2 is put out by the hydrogen production vs. regular diesel, well head to train exhaust pipe, before jumping on this band wagon.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very silly idea IMO, A cynic might even think that HMG are trying to distract attention from debacle of railway electrification.

Hydrogen is expensive to manufacture, It is ALLWAYS going to be significantly more expensive per KWH than the natural gas or electricity used as the input.

Hydrogen is expensive to transport, it requires specialist and very costly tanker vehicles that are either cryogenic or ultra high pressure.
The compression or liquefaction also absorbs significant energy in addition to that used in manufacture.
Significant fuel, probably diesel fuel, will be needed to move these large and specialist vehicles.
By contrast electricity is available almost everywhere and can be transmitted with losses of less than 10%.

Fueling a hydrogen train sounds complex compared to diesel fuel that simply needs a hose and a small pump.
Electricity to charge a battery train simply needs a standard industrial power connector, or better still can use existing infrastructure on partially electrified lines.

Hydrogen is also very flammable, much more so than diesel fuel.

Finally, the on board equipment of a hydrogen train takes up very considerable space, thereby increasing track access charges or reducing space for passengers.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Hydrogen trains to “Breeze” ahead on British railway Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
..... Whether it will mean fewer delays and miserable morning commutes on Southern Rail is another matter entirely.


Given that the article says that four car trains will be reduced to three cars the "miserable morning commute(s)" will become even more miserable before it gets any better.
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Due to the EROEI of hydrogen, it is effectively not an energy source. It is an energy store
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BritDownUnder



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
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Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hydrogen is a useful, carbon-free energy storage means. In terms of convenience I think it has drawbacks. Relatively bulky and storage under high pressure or at low temperature it is inconvenient. The round trip efficiency is much worse than batteries at worse than 50% compared with batteries nearer to 90%.

Producing the hydrogen has been covered by others but it could be made at the refuelling station using electrolysis or transported along specially modified pipelines from a central production facility.

I still think battery trains have more going for them and the technology is quite old. One battery electric rail-car, the NZR RM class (Edison battery-electric) ran in New Zealand in the 1930s.
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