Vivarail- British rolling stock manufacturer, has agreed a long-term collaboration with hydrogen fuel cell technology firm Arcola Energy.
Both the companies will work together on the development of a hydrogen/battery hybrid variant of Vivarail’s class 230 multiple unit.
Testing of the proof-of-concept train is expected to commence at Vivarail’s facility at Long Marston in central England in late 2019 or early 2020. This project will use technology already developed for Vivarail’s battery class 230.
The concept train will be formed of two vehicles, one equipped with two battery modules and one with a fuel cell and hydrogen tanks. Production trains will be formed of two battery driving motor cars and two intermediate cars with the fuel cell and tanks.
The class 230 is designed to accommodate different power sources and the hydrogen train will use an almost identical design to the fleet of five three-car battery-diesel hybrid sets being supplied by Vivarail to Transport for Wales.
Hydrogen train technology is an exciting innovation which has the potential to transform British railway, making journeys cleaner and greener by cutting CO2 emissions even further. The railways need to decarbonise and the UK Government has rightly set out a goal to eliminate diesel rolling stock by 2040. Hydrogen trains offer an ideal solution for routes which are unlikely to benefit from electrification investment.
A hydrogen fuel cell works by converting hydrogen into electricity, which can then be used to run an electric motor. The ’emission’ from this process is pure, drinkable water, making it a non-polluting power source for cars, trains and other vehicles. Further advantages over battery-electric technology include the rapidity with which a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle can be ‘recharged’ – a couple of minutes (roughly the same as a petrol car) in comparison to several hours for a BEV.