The Anonymous Widower

Siemens Joins The Hydrogen-Powered Train Club

This article on Global Rail News is entitled Siemens Working On Fuel Cell-Powered Mireo Train.

Siemens Mobility’s Mireo is their next-generation electric multiple unit.

This description is from Wikipedia.

The railcars have an articulated design and aluminium carbodies, with 26 metres (85 ft) cab cars on each end of a trainset and 19 metres (62 ft) passenger cars between them, with trainsets between two and seven cars long. The use of aluminium, combined with new control systems, is intended to reduce energy use by up to 25%. compared to previous Siemens EMUs. The railcars can reach a top speed of up to 160 kilometres per hour (99 mph)

The first units were ordered in February 2017 by DB Regio, which ordered 24 three-car trainsets with a passenger capacity of 220 for service on its routes in the Rhine valley in southwestern Germany.

This train has a lot in common with other offerings from the major train manufacturers.

  • Light weight
  • Articulated design.
  • Sophisticated control systems.
  • Low energy use.

Is it a case of engineering minds thinking alike?

The Global Rail New article says this about the hydrogen-powered trains.

Siemens is partnering up with Canadian manufacturer Ballard Power Systems to develop a fuel cell engine for its new Mireo train platform.

The two companies have signed a Development Agreement to produce a 200 kilowatt fuel cell engine to power a Mireo multiple unit.

The first fuel cell-powered Mireo could be running by 2021, Siemens and Ballard have announced.

There is a page on the Ballard web site, which lists their fuel cell engines called FCVeloCity.

  • FCVeloCity-MD – 30 kW
  • FCVeloCity-HD – 60kW, 85kW, 100kW
  • FCVeloCity-XD – 200 kW

I would assume that as there is no product sheet for the XD, that the 200 kW unit is still in development.

The first application would appear to be the Siemens Mireo.

Is Two Hundred Kilowatt Enough Power?

Bombardier’s four-car Class 387 train, is a typical electric muiltiple unit, that has been built in the last few years.

It has an installed power of 1.68 megawatts or 420 kW per car.

Porterbrook’s brochure says this about the two diesel engines in their Class 769 train, which is a bi-mode conversion of a Class 319 train.

The engine is a MAN D2876 LUE631 engine which generates 390 kW at 1800 rpm, giving an acceptable power output.

So that works out at 195 kW per car.

Both these trains have similar performance to the Siemens Mireo.

  • The trains will be substantially heavier than the Mireo.
  • The trains will do a lot of acceleration under electrification.

The 200 kW of the Mireo, isn’t much compared with the current generation of train.

As with the Alstom Coradio iLint, that I wrote about in Is Hydrogen A Viable Fuel For Rail Applications?, I suspect the Mireo has the following features.

  • Use of batteries to store energy.
  • Regenerative braking will use the batteries.
  • Selective use of electrification to drive the train directly.
  • Intelligent control systems to select appropriate power.

Given that the light weight will also help in the energy-expensive process of electrification, the intelligent control system is probably the key to making this train possible.

Will The Train Have One Or Two Hydrogen Power Units?

Wikipedia says this about the layout of the train.

The railcars have an articulated design and aluminium carbodies, with 26 metres (85 ft) cab cars on each end of a trainset and 19 metres (62 ft) passenger cars between them, with trainsets between two and seven cars long.

The trend these days in modern trains, is to fit large numbers of axles with traction motors for fast acceleration and smooth regenerative braking. As an Electrical Engineer, I believe that the most efficient electrical layout, would be for any car with motors to have some form of energy storage.

Have Siemens designed the train to use two identical cab cars?

  • These are longer to meet higher crash-protection standards.
  • Any diesel or hydrogen generator would be in these cars.
  • Energy storage would be provided.

Two cab cars with generators would have 400 kW, which would be more likely to be an acceptable power level.

Would the intermediate passenger cars be powered or just trailer cars?

I very much believe that the ideal intermediate cars should be powered and have a battery for regenerative braking.

Will Other Companies Join The Hydrogen Club?

Alstom, who are merging their train business with Siemens have announced orders for the Coradia iLint, so they are obviously a full-paid up member.

Bombardier have said nothing, but like Ballard, they are a Canadian company.

The key though, is that modern intelligent train control systems, which are used by all train manufacturers, have been designed to do the following.

  • Select appropriate power from electrification, battery or an on-board diesel generator.
  • Deploy pantograph and third-rail shoe as required.
  • Drive the train in an efficient manner.

Just swap the diesel generator for a hydrogen one.

Having a light weight, energy efficient train design will also help.

Conclusion

Expect hydrogen-powered trains from most manufacturers.

 

 

 

November 16, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s