The Anonymous Widower

Why Not Hydrogen-Powered Trains?

I regularly use the London bus route RV1 which runs along the South Bank between Tower Gateway and Covent Garden.

This article on the Rail Engineer web site is entitled And now Hydrogen Power – Alstom’s new fuel cell powered train.

The article is worth reading and gives a good review of what might be possible with a hydrogen-powered train.

I have a couple of reservations about hydrogen-powered vehicles.

  • In the late 1960s, I worked at ICI Plastics. The Division had had a serious accident with a polythene plant a couple of years previously and there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm for highly-compressed flasmmable gases, that I share to this day.
  • I also feel that, if the technology is so good, why aren’t all city buses and taxis hydrogen-powered?

Hydrogen could be the fuel of the future, but we’re possibly nowhere near its time.

This is an extract from the article.

The efficiency of the system relies on the storage of energy in the lithium-ion batteries. Fuel cells tend to work at their best if they are run continuously at reasonably constant performance. The battery stores energy from the fuel cell when not needed for traction and from regenerative braking when the train’s motors turn kinetic energy into electrical energy. In short, the batteries store the energy not immediately required, in order to supply it later, as needed.

So wouldn’t it be better to have a decent charging system for the batteries?

  • Overhead electric
  • Protected third rail electric
  • Small diesel engine.

A system appropriate to the location could be used.

November 4, 2016 - Posted by | Energy Storage, Hydrogen, Transport | , ,

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