The Anonymous Widower

Tees Valley Wins £1.3million Project To Bring Hydrogen Vehicles To The Region

The title of this post, is the same as that as this article on the Tees Valley Combined Authority web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Hydrogen vehicles and refuelling stations will soon be coming to Tees Valley after it was today (February 5) announced that a £1.3million bid to Government had been successful.

The next two paragraphs give more detail.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen welcomed the result of a Government competition that will see two refuelling stations built in Middlesbrough and Redcar, plus a fleet of cars which use hydrogen technology for long-range travel (300+ miles) and fast refuelling capability.

The new refuelling stations could allow cars, buses, bin lorries and even trains to be powered by the super fuel.

This later paragraph details the expected economic benefits.

Figures from a draft report commissioned by the Combined Authority and produced by KPMG suggest that exploiting the opportunities of the hydrogen economy could add up to £7billion to the region’s economy by 2050, with the creation of as many as 1,000 jobs.

These figures seem to say hydrogen is good for the economy and jobs.

March 30, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

BCRRE Recognised for its HydroFLEX Work

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) at the University of Birmingham has been recognised in the Guardian University Awards 2020 for its work in the UK’s first hydrogen powered train, HydroFLEX.

From my monitoring of the various hydrogen developments and their prominence, it appears that all questions are being explored and that hydrogen will have an extensive future on both rail and the road.

March 17, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Red Diesel Cuts To Make Way For For Electric And Hydrogen

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the Northern Echo.

It is an article worth reading, as Conservative MPs spread the message of the phase out of red diesel to their constituents.

  • It will be painful.
  • Farmers must be protected.
  • Only one person in the audience had an electric car.
  • The government is expected to enhance electric car incentives and provisions.

It was also disclosed that Teeside will be getting hydrogen-powered trains.

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

EU Announces ‘Clean Hydrogen Alliance’ For Launch In The Summer

The total of this post is the same as this article on Euractiv.

The title is probably fairly clear, but the article is well worth a read.

March 11, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Dutch Test Hydrogen Train As EU Alliance Set To Launch

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Euractiv.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Netherlands wrapped up testing on its first foray into hydrogen train technology at the weekend, as the European Commission readies a strategy for the clean fuel that will debut on Tuesday (10 March).

I shall be interested to see what the European Commission says tomorrow.

I indicated in Alstom Coradia iLint Passes Tests, that hydrogen-powered trains could run through The Netherlands all the way to Germany.

March 9, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

I Design A Hydrogen Aventra

This article on Rail News is entitled Alstom Moves Ahead With Bombardier Takeover.

This is a paragraph in the report, which is dated the eighteenth of last month.

n a statement issued last night, Alstom said it had ‘signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bombardier Inc. and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in view of the acquisition of Bombardier Transportation. Post-transaction, Alstom will have a backlog of around €75bn and revenues around €15.5bn. The price for the acquisition of 100 per cent of Bombardier Transportation shares will be €5.8bn to €6.2bn, which will be paid via a mix of cash and new Alstom shares.’

That sounds pretty definite to me.

In the UK, Alstom will take over a company with the following projects.

  • A large order book for building Aventras in the Litchurch Lane factory at Derby.
  • Several support projects for existing train fleets.
  • A joint design project with Hitachi to bid for the trains for High Speed Two. Alstom are also bidding for High Speed Two, as are CAF, Siemens and Talgo.
  • Design and build the cars for the Cairo monorail.
  • Bombardier have been offering train operating companies a bi-mode Aventra.

There are also rumours, that Bombardier are in the running for a large order for Southeastern.

What are Bombardier’s strengths in the UK?

  • The Aventra is without doubt an excellent train, but with some software teething troubles.
  • The company has the ability to turn out finished trains at a formidable rate.
  • The company can make the carriage bodies in a high-tech plant.
  • The company has the ability to design complete trains to the UK’s smaller standards.
  • The company can make trains in both European-sizes in Europe and UK-sizes in Derby.
  • The company builds bogies for other train manufacturing companies.

On the other hand, Bombardier has the following weaknesses.

  • It doesn’t make any diesel-powered trains, although it has successfully trialled battery-powered trains.
  • It has dismissed hydrogen-powered trains.
  • But above all the finances of the parent company are a basket case.

It appears to me that Alstom might bring much needed technology and finance to Bombardier UK. In return, they will acquire a modern design, that caq be used in the UK and other countries, that use a smaller loading gauge.

Obviously, if the takeover goes through, more information should be forthcoming in the near to mid future.

The Future For Hydrogen Trains In The UK

I would suspect, that Alstom have designed a train in the Class 321 Breeze, that fits their view of what will work well in the UK train market.

  • It is a sixty metre long train.
  • It has a capacity similar to that of a modern two-car diesel multiple unit.
  • The Renatus version of the Class 321 train has a modern and reliable AC-based traction package. Or that’s what a Greater Anglia driver told me!
  • Eversholt Rail Group have already devised a good interior.
  • I said I was impressed with the train in A Class 321 Renatus.
  • The train can operate at 100 mph on a suitably electrified line, when running using the electrification.
  • Adding an extra trailer car or two could be a simple way of increasing capacity.

I should say, that I think it will be a quieter train, than the Coradia iLint, which has a rather noisy mechanical transmission.

I feel that a Class 321 Breeze train could be a good seller to routes that will not be electrified, either because of difficulty, expence or politics.

With a 100 mph operating speed on electrification and perhaps 90 mph on hydrogen power, it may have enough performance to work a lot of routes fast, profitably and reliably.

I think, that the Alston Class 321 Breeze will prove whether there is a market for hydrogen-powered trains in the UK.

I would think, that use of these trains could be a big application.

Replacement Of Two-And Three-Car Diesel Multiple Units

There are a lot of these still in service in the UK, which include.

All of these are currently running services all over Great Britain and I have ignored those trains run by Chiltern Railways as they will logically be replaced by a dedicated batch of new trains, with possible full- or part-electrification of the route.

As there are only 105 Class 321 trains that can be converted, some other trains will be needed.

I suppose classes of trains like Class 365 trains and others can be converted, but there must come a point, when it will be better to build a new hydrogen train from scratch.

Components For Hydrogen Trains

This article on Rail Business is entitled Breeze Hydrogen Multiple-Unit Order Expected Soon.

It says this about the design of the Alstom Breeze train.

The converted HMUs would have three roof-mounted banks of fuel cells on each of the two driving vehicles, producing around 50% more power than the iLint. Two passenger seating bays and one door vestibule behind each cab would be replaced by storage tanks. The fuel cells would feed underfloor battery packs which would also store regenerated braking energy. The current DC traction package on the centre car would be replaced by new AC drives and a sophisticated energy management system. Despite the loss of some seating space, each set of three 20 m vehicles would provide slightly more capacity than a two-car DMU with 23 m cars which it would typically replace.

The following components will be needed for hydrogen trains.

One Or More Hydrogen Tanks

This picture shows the proposed design of the  Alstom Class 321 Breeze.

Note how half the side of the front car of the train is blocked in because it is full of the hydrogen tank. As this Driver Car is twenty metres long, each hydrogen tank must be almost seven metres long. If it was one larger tank, then it could be longer and perhaps up to fourteen metres long.

Batteries

As the Rail Business article said, that the batteries are underfloor, I wouldn’t be surprised to see all cars having a battery pack.

I favour this layout, as if cars all are motored, it must cut the length of cabling and reduce electrical losses.

Effectively, it creates a train with the following.

  • Faster acceleration
  • Smooth, fast deceleration.
  • Efficient braking
  • Low energy losses.

It should also add up to a train with good weight distribution and high efficiency.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

In the Class 321 Breeze, Alstom are quoted as having three banks of fuel cell on the roof of each driver car.

This would distribute the power derived from hydrogen to both ends of the train

Hydrogen For Hydrogen Trains

Alstom’s Coradia iLint trains do not have a custom-design of hydrogen system, but over the last few years green hydrogen systems have started to be supplied by companies including ITM Power from Rotherham. Recently, they have supplied the hydrogen system for the hydrogen-powered Van Hool  Exqui-City tram-buses in Pau in France. A similar system could be used to refuel a fleet of Breeze trains.

It looks like we have a limited number of hydrogen-powered trains and their fuel could be made available, but not enough to replace all of the UK’s small diesel trains.

My Design Of Hydrogen Train

I would start with the Aventra design.

  • It is very much Plug-and-Play, where different types of cars can be connected together.
  • Cars can be any convenient length.
  • Some Aventras, like the Class 345 trains for Crossrail are even two half-trains.
  • There are various styles of interior.
  • The Aventra appears to be a very efficient train, with good aerodynamics and a very modern traction system with regenerative braking.
  • Driver, pantograph, trailer and motor cars and third-rail equipment are available.
  • Battery cars have probably been designed.

This picture shows a four-car Class 710 train, which is an Aventra.

In the next sub-sections I will fill out the design.

Train Layout

Perhaps, a hydrogen-powered train could be five cars and consist of these cars.

  • Driver Motor Car
  • Trailer Car
  • Hydrogen Tank Car
  • Trailer Car
  • Driver Motor Car

Equipment would be arranged as followed.

  • I would put the hydrogen tank in the middle car. Stadler have been very successful in putting a power car in the middle and it could be the ideal car for some of the important equipment.
  • As I said earlier, I would put batteries under all cars.
  • Regenerative braking and electrification would be used to charge the batteries.
  • I think, I would put the hydrogen fuel cells in Alstom’s position on the rear part of the roof of the driver cars.
  • There would also be a need to add a pantograph, so that could go on any convenient car!
  • I do wonder, if the middle-car could be developed into a mini-locomotive with a walkway through, like the PowerCar in a Stadler Class 755 train.

There’s certainly a lot of possibilities on how to layout the various components.

Passenger Capacity

The five-car hydrogen-powered Aventra, I have detailed is effectively a four-car Aventra like a Class 710 train, with a fifth hydrogen tank car in the middle.

So the passenger capacity will be the same as a four-car Aventra.

The Class 710 trains have longitudinal seating, as these pictures of the interior show.

They have a capacity of 189 sitting and 489 standing passengers or a total capacity of 678.

Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains have transverse seating and a five-car train holds 540 sitting and 145 standing passengers.

Multiplying by 0.8 to adjust for the hydrogen car and the capacity would be 432 sitting and116 standing passengers or a total capacity of 548.

Seats in various UK four-car electric multiple units are as follows.

  • Class 319 – 319
  • Class 321 – 309
  • Class 375 – 236
  • Class 379 – 209
  • Class 380 – 265
  • Class 385 – 273
  • Class 450 – 264

It would appear that a five-car hydrogen-powered Aventra, with one car taken up by a hydrogen tank and other electrical equipment can carry a more than adequate number of passengers.

Extra Passenger Capacity

Suppose to eliminate diesel on a route, a five-car Class 802 train were to be replaced with a six-car hydrogen-powered Aventra, which contained five passenger cars

  • The capacity of the Class 802 train is 326 seats, which still compares well with the five-car hydrogen-powered Aventra.
  • The extra car would increase the passenger capacity.

As Aventras are of a Plug-and-Play design, extra cars would be added as needed.

Maximum Length

Aventras tend to have lots of powered axles, as this improves accelerations and braking, so I suspect that trains with four or five cars on either side of the hydrogen car would be possible.

Nine-car trains could be ideal for replacing trains like Class 800 bi-mode trains to reduce the number of diesel trains. The Class 800 trains would then be converted to Class 801 electric trains or a new battery/electric version.

A Walkway Through The Hydrogen Car

These pictures show the walkway through the PowerCar in a Stadler Class 755 train.

I’m sure that an elegant design of walkway can be created.

In-Cab Digital Signalling

It goes without saying, that the train would be capable of being fitted with in-cab digital signalling.

Performance On Electrification

Bombardier have stated that they have a design for a 125 mph bi-mode Aventra. They might even have designed the trains to achieve 140 mph running on routes with full in-cab digital signalling.

These electrified lines are likely to be able to support 140 mph running with full in-cab digital signalling.

  • East Coast Main Line
  • Great Western Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • West Coast Main Line

As these hydrogen-powered Aventras may need to run on these high speed electrified lines, I would design the trains so that they could achieve the design speed of these lines, when using the electrification.

This would enable the trains to keep out of the way of the numerous 140 mph electric expresses.

Performance On Batteries And Hydrogen

Hydrogen-powered trains are essentially battery-electric trains, which have the ability to top up the batteries using hydrogen power.

I would suspect that a well-designed hydrogen/battery/electric train should have the same maximum speed on all modes of power, subject to the capabilities of the track and having sufficient power in the batteries to accelerate as required.

Conclusion

I think it would be possible to design a hydrogen/battery/electric train based on an Aventra with the following characteristics.

  • Up to eleven cars
  • A hydrogen car with a hydrogen tank in the middle of the train.
  • Ability to use 25 KVAC overhead or 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • In-cab digital signalling
  • 140 mph running where the route allows.
  • Regenerative braking to batteries.
  • Sufficient range on hydrogen power.
  • Sophisticated computer control, that swaps mode automatically.

The train would be possible to run the following routes, if configured appropriately.

  • Kings Cross and Aberdeen
  • Kings Cross and Inverness
  • Kings Cross and Cleethorpes via Lincoln and Grimsby
  • Kings Cross and Redcar via Middlesbrough
  • Kings Cross and Norwich via Cambridge
  • Paddington and Penzance
  • Paddington and Swansea
  • Waterloo and Exeter via Basingstoke

Some routes might need a section of fill in electrification, but most routes should be possible with a hydrogen fill-up at both ends.

 

 

 

March 9, 2020 Posted by | Business, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Alstom Coradia iLint Passes Tests

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

This is the first paragraph.

Alstom has performed 10 days of tests of the Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell train—the world’s first passenger train powered by hydrogen fuel cells—on the 65-kilometer line between Groningen and Leeuwarden to the north of the Netherlands.

These details of the tests were given.

  • No passengers were carried.
  • The tests were done at night.
  • A mobile filling station was used.
  • The train ran up to a speed of 140 kph.

As green hydrogen was used, the tests were zero carbon.

The Test Route

This map clipped from Wikipedia, shows the Groningen and Leeuwarden route, used for the tests.

Note.

  1. It appears to be only single-track.
  2. It is roughly 65 kilometres long.
  3. There are eight intermediate stops.

Checking the timetable, the service seems to be two or three trains per hour (tph)

Hydrogen Trains Could Go All The Way To Germany

In From Groningen To Leer By Train, I took a train and a bus from Groningen in The Netherlands to Leer in Germany and eventually on to Bremen Hbf. The route is not complete at the moment, as a freighter demolished the rail bridge.

Once the bridge is rebuilt, a hydrogen-powered train, which could also use the catenary in the area could travel from West of Leeuwarden to possibly as far as Bremen and Hamburg.

It is interesting to note, that Alstom’s hydrogen-powered trains for the UK, which are called Breeze and are currently being converted from British Rail-era Class 321 electric trains, will not lose their ability to use the overhead electrification.

A train with that dual capability would be ideal for the Dutch and German rail network in this area, which is partially electrified.l

March 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alstom’s Hydrogen-Powered Train Undergoes Tests On Dutch Tracks

The title of this post is the same as that on this article of Renewables Now.

Hydrogen trains are certainly coming to Europe.

March 7, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

ÖBB To Test Hydrogen Multiple-Units

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The national operator’s passenger business ÖBB Personenverkehr has awarded sole bidder Alstom a contract to provide two hydrogen fuel cell multiple-units for trials.

The trial should start in April.

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Next Stop, Hydrogen-Powered Trains

The title of this post is the same as that as this article on the BBC’s Future Platet web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

As old diesel trains are phased out of rail networks around the world, the UK is about to test a new type of engine that could help to decarbonise railways – hydrogen-powered trains.

The article then goes on to summarise the current developments in hydrogen grains.

March 1, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment