The Anonymous Widower

From 2025, Nestlé Waters France Will Use The First Hydrogen-Powered Freight Train Through An Innovative Solution Developed by Alstom and ENGIE

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Alstom.

These are the main points of the press release.

  • Nestlé Waters will be the first company in Europe to benefit from the hydrogen fuel cell solution developed by Alstom and ENGIE, for rail freight.

  • The purpose is to operate the first hydrogen-powered freight train from the Vosges plant, thanks to a hydrogen generator wagon system developed by Alstom and supplied with renewable hydrogen by ENGIE, from 2025.

  • engieltimately, this project should enable Nestlé Waters to reduce emissions by 10,000 tons of COequivalent per year.

  • This new collaboration is in line with the actions Nestlé Waters has been carried out for several years to decarbonize its supply chain.

In this Alstom visualisation that accompanies the press release, an Alstom Prima locomotive can be seen pulling a tender full of hydrogen, that generates electricity.

It would appear to be a very simple concept.

  • The electric locomotive uses electrification where it is available.
  • On lines without electrification, hydrogen is used to generate electricity.
  • The locomotive and the tender are connected by a cable.
  • I suspect for longer distances, larger generators with a larger hydrogen capacity can be developed.
  • It would appear that typical SNCF Prima locomotives have at least 4 MW of power, so the generator must be at least this size.

I could see this concept being used with a 4 MW Class 90 electric locomotive.

November 23, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Do Cummins And Stadler Have a Cunning Plan?

Roger Ford in the December 2022 Edition of Modern Railways has written an article called Traction à la mode.

The article is a series of small sections, with the last section but one, labelled Monster.

Roger says this.

Finally, we come to the mighty Class 99, which is not at all flakey. In the past I have often commented on the UK railways’ prejudice against Co-Co bogies.

But with the ’99’ six axles will give 6MW (8,000 hp) at the rail, with contact patches to use all its 113 tonnes. Plus the extra axles mean it can accommodate the weight of a 2,400 hp Cummins diesel.

At the recent Rail Freight Group conference, Ross Shepherd, Chief Technical Officer of Beacon Rail, which has 30 locomotives on order for GB Railfreight, revealed a computer simulation which showed a Class 99 would save 36 minutes on a run timed for 1 hr 40 minutes for diesel traction. To quote Mr Shepherd:’It’s a monster and it’s coming.’

I have been doing some digging around the Internet and have found this bulletin from Cummins, which is entitled QSK60 For Rail.

The bulletin describes a Stadler locomotive with a Cummins QSK60 engine, which Stadler are delivering to Bolivia.

This paragraph introduces the locomotives.

Stadler and the Bolivian Ferroviaria Andina (Andean
Railway) FCA have signed a contract for the supply of the first three state-of-the art South American Light
Loco (SALi) locomotives, which will feature the
Cummins QSK60 engine.

The bulletin gives these details.

  • Locomotive type – diesel-electric
  • Track gauge – one metre
  • Axle load – 18 ton/axle
  • Power – 1865 kW – 2500 hp
  • Diesel engine – QSK60
  • Maximum Speed – 100 km/h
  • Starting Tractive Effort – 415 kN
  • Coupling – AAR
  • Fuel Tank – Up to 6000 litres

The bulletin is marked as Printed in UK, so does that mean that the engines come from Darlington.

The weight of this locomotive is 98 tonnes and Roger says that the Class 99 locomotive is 113 tonnes. But the Class 99 locomotive is an electro-diesel locomotive with 6 MW available when running on 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

It looks to me that Stadler have arranged the substantial electrical gubbins around the Cummins QSK60 diesel engine to create Beacon Rail’s monster.

Cummins And Hydrogen

Cummins is a company, that is big in hydrogen.

  • They own hydrogen fuel cell and electrolysis company; Hydrogenics.
  • They supply the fuel cells for Alstom’s hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint.

In Werner Enterprises Signs Letter Of Intent Planning To Secure 500 X15H Engines From Cummins, I said this.

More details of the X15H engine are given in this earlier press release, which is entitled Cummins Inc. Debuts 15-Litre Hydrogen Engine At ACT Expo, which has this first paragraph.

Today, Cummins Inc. debuted its 15-liter hydrogen engine at ACT Expo in Long Beach, California. This engine is built on Cummins’ new fuel-agnostic platform, where below the head gasket each fuel type’s engine has largely similar components, and above the head gasket, each has different components for different fuel types. This version, with expected full production in 2027, pairs with clean, zero-carbon hydrogen fuel, a key enabler of Cummins’ strategy to go further faster to help customers reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

I certainly like the concept of a fuel-agnostic platform, where below the head gasket, everything is similar, and above the head gasket, there are appropriate components.

It looks to me that if Stadler use the Cummins QSK60 diesel engine in their locomotives, then if Cummins develop a hydrogen version of the QSK60, Stadler can convert the locomotives to hydrogen, if Cummins follow their philosophy of a fuel-agnostic platform, with everything identical below the cylinder head gasket.

Over twenty years ago, I did a small data analysis task for Cummins in Darlington. One of their engineers explained to me how they would rearrange the components of diesel engines, so they fitted with the customer’s application. It looks to me that they have taken this philosophy a step further, so that the customer can have diesel or hydrogen engines in the same application, depending on what the end user wants.

In the case of the order from Beacon Rail for thirty Class 99 locomotives, they will be delivered as diesel-electric locomotives, but at some point in the future, when Cummins has developed the hydrogen engine, they will be able to be converted to hydrogen-electric locomotives.

November 23, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Research And Development Agreement Signed For Hydrogen Combustion Trains In US

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on H2-View.

This is the opening paragraph.

Hydrogen combustion engine-powered trains are set to be at the centre of a collaborative research and development agreement between Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories and Wabtec in a bid to decarbonise US rail.

The US is certainly calling up the heavy brigade in Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratories and Wabtec.

This appears to be the main objective.

It is hoped the team will be able to design train engines that will deliver the same power, range, and cost-effectiveness as current diesel technology.

The article states that there are 25,000 diesel locomotives in the United States, but because of exports to large parts of the world, including the UK, this research could clean up a lot more than just the United States.

The omens are good, in that both Cummins and Rolls-Royce mtu, who are two of the world’s big diesel engine manufacturers have successfully launched hydrogen combustion engines.

 

 

November 12, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Plan To Build £150m Green Hydrogen Plant At Felixstowe Port

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Times.

These two paragraphs introduce the project.

A £150 million green hydrogen plant is to be built at the UK’s busiest container port according to proposals by ScottishPower, it emerged yesterday.

The energy company has devised plans for a 100MW plant at the Port of Felixstowe which will provide fuel to power trains, trucks and ships.

There’s a lot more to this project than it would appear at first.

Where Will The Electrolyser Be Sited?

The Times article says this.

The site will be around the size of a football pitch, on brownfield land within the port.

I have flown my virtual helicopter over the port and there could be a couple of suitable football pitch-sized plots.

Where Will The Electricity Come From?

The East Anglia Array is a proposed massive series of offshore wind farms, which will be about thirty miles off the Suffolk coast.

Wikipedia says this about the size.

Up to six individual projects could be set up in the area with a maximum capacity of up to 7.2 GW.

But the main thing about the East Anglian Array is that it is being developed by a partnership of ScottishPower and Vattenfall.

Negotiations shouldn’t be difficult.

This Google Map shows the town of Felixstowe.

Note.

  1. The Ports of Felixstowe and Harwich are opposite each other on the two banks of the River Orwell.
  2. The power cable to the East Anglia Array comes ashore at Bawdsey in the North-East corner of the map.
  3. The Port of Felixstowe has two rail links, which are not electrified.

I suspect that the electric power to the electrolyser might well be routed underwater to the Port of Felixstowe either from Bawdsey or possibly direct from the wind farm.

A Meeting With A Crane Driver

I used to regularly go to Ipswich Town away matches and at one match, I met a senior crane operator from the Port of Felixstowe. We got talking about electrifying the rail link to the port and decarbonisation of the port in general.

He was adamant that electrification of the rail lines in the port, wouldn’t be a good idea as containers occasionally get dropped or crane drivers aren’t as accurate as they should be.

Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotives

When, I told him about the possibilities of hydrogen rail locomotives, he felt this was the way to go, as no rail electrification would be needed in the port.

Hydrogen-electric hybrid locomotives would also be able to take containers cross-country to the main electrified routes to the North and West, where they would raise their pantographs and use electric power.

How many trucks would be removed from the A14, A1 and M6?

Will Greater Anglia Convert Their Class 755 Trains to Hydrogen?

Class 755 trains have a short PowerPack in the middle and are designed for conversion to hydrogen-electric operation.

Note the PowerPack has four slots for diesel engines, batteries or hydrogen fuel-cells.

A Better Working Environment

But my fellow supporter felt the biggest gain in the port, would come with replacement or updating of all the vehicles and handling equipment, as if all these machines were hydrogen-powered, this would greatly improve the working conditions for the dock workers.

ScottishPower’s Vision

This press release on ScottishPower’s web site is entitled ScottishPower Vision For Green Hydrogen Fuels Hub At Port Of Felixstowe.

Conclusion

The Port of Felixstowe is doing the planning for this in the right way, as ensuring the hydrogen supply in the port first, is the logical way to transition to hydrogen power.

But then, I’ve watched the Port of Felixstowe grow since the 1960s and they usually get their decisions right.

The press release starts with these bullet points.

  • ScottishPower explores green hydrogen at Port of Felixstowe to help decarbonise the UK’s busiest port.
  • The project could help kick-start the low carbon transformation of the UK’s heavy transport sector.
  • 100MW facility could deliver up to 40 tonnes of green hydrogen per day – enough to power 1300 hydrogen trucks.
  • International export also being explored.

And these two paragraphs.

ScottishPower, with Hutchison Ports, is exploring the opportunity to develop, build and operate a multi-hundred MW green hydrogen production facility at the Port of Felixstowe – with the potential to decarbonise industry and transportation in the region.
Both companies have set out their vision to help create a greener port, which could provide clean fuel for customers at Britain’s busiest container port.

Plans are being developed to use green hydrogen for onshore purposes, such as road, rail and industrial use, with the potential to create liquid forms, such as green ammonia or e-methanol. This could, in turn, provide clean fuels for shipping and aviation, and create opportunities for cost-effective export to international markets. The project aims to continue engineering and site development works to align with customer demand from 2025 onwards.

It is certainly a very extremely ambitious vision!

But then the county of my conception, has a tremendous determination to succeed. And often against all conventional logic!

 

August 9, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Clean Air Power Adds Hydrogen To Class 66 Fuel Mix

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the International Rail Journal.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Fuel injection technology developed by Clean Air Power that enables a class 66 locomotive to run on a combination of diesel, biogas and hydrogen has successfully completed nine months of trials with British freight operator Freightliner.

This is the first time that the injection technology has been tested by the rail freight sector and, according to Clean Air Power, paves the way for reducing the emissions of other class 66 locomotives.

Note.

  1. There are 450 Class 66 locomotives in service in the UK, with more in service in Europe.
  2. Freightliner was Clean Air Power’s main project partner.
  3. Nothing was disclosed about carbon savings.
  4. The trial was backed by £400,000 of Government money.
  5. The locomotive has completed a nine month trial.

This would appear to be a good professional start to decarbonisation of rail freight.

It’s also rather ironic, that this successful trial of a diesel-saving locomotive was announced on the day of Vlad the Mad’s big parade.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Hydrogen-Electric Class 99 Locomotive

In GB Railfreight Plans Order For Future-Proofed Bi-Mode Locomotives, I introduced the Class 99 locomotive, for which the first order was announced by Stadler and GB Railfreight yesterday.

This was the start of that post, which I wrote in early March 2022.

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the introductory paragraph.

GB Railfreight is planning to order a fleet of main line electro-diesel locomotives with a modular design which would facilitate future replacement of the diesel engine with a battery or hydrogen fuel cell module.

In this post, I will look at the design of a Class 99 locomotive running on hydrogen.

These are my thoughts.

Using Hydrogen Fuel Cells

The Railway Gazette article suggests that hydrogen fuel-cells will be used to create a hydrogen-electric Class 99 locomotive.

A typical hydrogen fuel-cell transmission will have the following elements, which will replace the diesel-electric generator.

  • A hydrogen fuel tank
  • A appropriately-sized hydrogen fuel-cell which generates electricity from hydrogen.
  • A battery to store electricity.
  • Regenerative braking will also be used to charge the battery.
  • The locomotive will have an electric transmission.

The various components will be fitted into the space, that was occupied by the diesel engine.

This Alstom video promotes the Alstom Coradia iLint and explains how it works.

Most hydrogen fuel-cell trains and trucks , work as the train does in this video.

Using A Reciprocating Engine Running On Hydrogen

This press release from Caterpillar is entitled Caterpillar to Expand Hydrogen-Powered Solutions to Customers.

It describes how Caterpillar will develop versions of their reciprocating engines, that will run on 100 % hydrogen.

This would be an alternative way of developing a zero-carbon Class 99 locomotive.

Note that Cummins, JCB and Rolls-Royce mtu have also converted diesel engines to run on hydrogen.

This method of conversion has advantages.

April 30, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Chiltern Class 68 Locomotive At Marylebone Station

As I was passing through Marylebone station, I took these pictures of a very clean Class 68 locomotive.

If I’m going to Birmingham, I generally use Chiltern, as often you get to travel in one of these well-restored Mark 3 coaches hauled by a Class 68 locomotive.

With the Mark 3 coach, you get a full size table and a large window to enjoy the countryside.

  • The Class 68 locomotives were all built by Stadler in Spain, within the last ten years.
  • The UK has a fleet of 34 Class 68 locomotives.
  • They are powered by a Caterpillar diesel engine.
  • The only problem with the trains is that the Class 68 locomotives are diesel.

But is Caterpillar working on a simple solution?

Search the Internet for “Caterpillar Hydrogen” and you find press releases and other items, like this press release, which is entitled Caterpillar to Expand Hydrogen-Powered Solutions to Customers.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out, that Stadler and Caterpillar were working on a program to provide a solution to convert Class 68 locomotives to hydrogen.

April 10, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Timber Freight Train Runs For First Time In 18 Years

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Network Rail has partnered with Colas Rail in a pilot project to run a timber freight train for the first time in 18 years.

A sawmill in Abergavenny has received the first rail-transported timber since 2004 which was transported 92 miles from Hackney Yard near Newton Abbot.

I do wonder how many other specialised freight trains like these could be run.

As it was only 320 tonnes on eight wagons, it was probably hauled by a diesel Class 66 or Class 70 locomotive.

If there were hydrogen-powered locomotives available, would this encourage more companies to switch from road to rail.

It also appears that for this movement, Network Rail had strengthened a bridge. Are there enough yards, where heavy trucks can access the railway?

Timber Imports

With the situation in Ukraine, I wondered if we imported any timber from Russia, that could perhaps be replaced by locally-grown timber.

I found this page on the Forest Research web site from the UK Government, which is entitled Origin Of Wood Imports.

Our biggest timber imports from Russia are wood pellets and plywood.

Wood pellets are an obvious import, as we also import large amounts from the United States and Canada and all three countries have extensive forests and I suspect they all produce large amounts of woody waste, that is only suitable for making into pellets.

Are we recycling scrap wood and woody waste, as best we can in the UK or are we just burning it on bonfires? The guy opposite lost a tree in the recent storms and a tree surgeon came with a special truck and a shredder to reduce it to small pieces of woody waste. Did that go to make pellets for Drax and other boilers that burn them?

It strikes me, that there may be opportunities For creating or enlarging our own wood pellet industry to cut imports.

Plywood comes mainly from China (37 %), Brazil (18 %), Finland (9 %) and Russia (8 %). Of these, I suspect only one has good environmental standards.

As this softwood plywood for lower-grade applications only needs wood from trees, that we can grow in this country, perhaps we should make a lot more in automated plants.

I’m sure Network Rail would be happy to arrange the transport.

February 25, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Rolls-Royce And Porterbrook Agreement Will Drive Rail Decarbonisation

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Porterbrook.

This is the important part of the press release.

Rolls-Royce is teaming up with Porterbrook to identify and develop technological innovations to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality across the rail network. The two companies, who have signed a memorandum of understanding, will investigate the potential for the use of synthetic and net zero fuels, including hydrogen, both in fuel cells and internal combustion engines. Building on their recent success of jointly introducing hybrid battery-diesel railcars into passenger service, the two companies will also explore the potential for advanced hybridisation.

The relationship also includes considering the role of the wider rail ecosystem in decarbonisation, including fuel chain supply, infrastructure and operational models that can aid innovation and the transition to net zero.

The UK’s railway accounts for approximately 1% of all domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions* and the Government’s ambition is to remove all diesel-only trains – both passenger and freight – from the network by 2040 and achieve a net zero rail network by 2050. The UK Government has identified a number of different routes to this target including alternative forms of power such as hydrogen, fuel cells, batteries, hybrid-electric and sustainable fuels.

Rolls-Royce have issued a similar press release.

I believe this agreement could result in significant benefits to the UK rail industry, in respect to reduction in diesel consumption, noise and carbon emissions.

Examples could include.

Unfortunately, I can’t add more examples as there is no Porterbrook fleet list on their web site.

February 14, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Talgo To Begin Fuel Cell Loco Trials

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Trials are to begin shortly with the TPH2 fuel cell test locomotive developed by Talgo as part of its hydrogen traction programme. This forms part of a low-carbon research and development strategy which is being supported by a green hydrogen supply alliance and financing from the European Investment Bank.

The TPH2 loco has been produced by fitting fuel cells and traction batteries to the Travca L-9202 ‘Virgen del Buen Camino’ prototype multi-system and variable gauge locomotive which was built by Talgo in 2005.

This page on the Talgo web site describes the Travca locomotive like this.

Travca: Traction Without Borders

Travca is a locomotive that stops at nothing; not at different power supplies, track gauges nor signalling systems all of which makes Travca Talgo’s most advanced development in the field of traction.

This is the specification of the electric locomotive from the Talgo web site.

  • Operating speed – Up to 250km/h (passenger version)
  • Configuration – Bo-Bo
  • Track gauge (mm) -1435-1668
  • Length (m) – 19400
  • Bodyshell width (mm) – 2950
  • Unladen weight (tonnes) – 72 (passenger version)
  • Number of axles – 4
  • Power – 2,400 kW (25kV, 50Hz) / 2,000kW (3kV dc)
  • Brakes – Regenerative, rheostatic and air brakes

Notes.

  1. It is a variable-gauge and variable-voltage locomotive.
  2. 1435 mm is standard gauge
  3. It is lighter and wider than a Class 90 locomotive.

It does seem to be the basis of a very useful locomotive.

This article on Railway News is entitled University Of Extremadura To Work With Talgo On Its Hydrogen Train, says this about the test train.

During the first stage of the hydrogen train project, Talgo is developing the necessary engineering for the assembly and commissioning of hydrogen traction in a test train. The train will comprise a Talgo Travca MS locomotive, which can change gauges and run under different electrification systems, and five Talgo hauled cars that will house the hydrogen fuel cell system. One of the cars will be a laboratory car.

This would appear to be an experimental train with the hydrogen power station in four of the coaches.

It also appears that Extremadura is developing a hydrogen infrastructure.

Applications In The UK

The obvious application in the UK, is as a Class 66 diesel locomotive replacement, for some of the light to medium duties.

The Class 66 locomotives have a power of 2400 kW, which could be within the range of the Talgo locomotive.

In LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes, I speculated that Talgo, with all their experience of high speed trains might like to bid for the extra ten trains, that LNER requires.

They could be ideal to allow electric trains to run between London and Aberdeen and Inverness.

  • The Travca locomotive running on electricity could certainly handle 140 mph between London and Edinburgh.
  • The power requirements North of Edinburgh would be less, as speeds would be lower.
  • Ranges on hydrogen would be under two hundred miles.

It would be a flagship service for both LNER and Talgo.

 

 

February 7, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments