Hydrogen train runs on UK railway for first time 

Posted: October 3, 2020 by oldbrew in Emissions, Energy, hydrogen, net zero, News, Travel
Tags: ,

HydroFLEX tester train [image credit: BBC]

The government minister is talking up ‘the UK’s hydrogen ambitions’ here. Another potentially massive drain on the increasingly threadbare electricity grid system beckons. How much more pseudo-green pie can these deluded carbophobes lob into the sky?
– – –
Supported by a £750,000 grant from the Department for Transport (DfT), the trial of the HydroFLEX train took place in Warwickshire, reports New Civil Engineer.

It follows almost two years’ development work and more than £1M of investment by both Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham. Unlike diesel trains, hydrogen-powered trains do not emit harmful gases, instead using hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, water and heat.

The technology behind the trains will be available by 2023 to retrofit current in-service trains to hydrogen, helping decarbonise the rail network and make rail journeys greener and more efficient.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps also announced the ambition for Tees Valley to become a Hydrogen Transport Hub. Bringing together representatives from academia, industry and government to drive forward the UK’s plans to embrace the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel could create hundreds of jobs while seeing the region become a global leader in the green hydrogen sector.

Shapps said that to “harness the power of transport” to improve the country, change must be “truly” embedded.

“That’s why I’m delighted that through our plans to build back better we are embracing the power of hydrogen and the more sustainable, greener forms of transport it will bring,” he said.

To kick start this development in Tees Valley, the DfT has commissioned a masterplan to understand the feasibility of the hub and how it can accelerate the UK’s hydrogen ambitions.

Expected to be published in January, the masterplan will pave the way for exploring how green hydrogen could power buses, HGV, rail, maritime and aviation transport across the UK.

Full report here.

  1. pochas94 says:

    Using off-peak power to generate and compress hydrogen might be a way to use generating plant more efficiently. Make better use of that spinning reserve.

  2. Curious George says:

    “The trial of the HydroFLEX train took place in Warwickshire.” Any results?

  3. oldbrew says:

    From the NCE report:

    ‘Through the £23M Hydrogen for Transport Programme, the plans announced today also include £6.3M of funding for a green hydrogen refuelling station and 19 hydrogen-powered refuse vehicles in Glasgow, a world-first for the size of the fleet. This will give a post-Covid boost to local economies through the creation of green jobs while also de-carbonising the transport network.’

    Greenwash for the COP summit in Glasgow next year? Possibly the world’s most expensive trash collection.

  4. Graeme No.3 says:

    Wow! A refuse vehicle for only £330,000. Where do I queue to get one?
    At least on the train there would be room for the hydrogen tank and some passengers too.

    The good news is that some people survived the Hindenburg.

  5. BoyfromTottenham says:

    So, these are just ‘plans’ for funding ‘a green hydrogen refuelling station and 19 hydrogen-powered refuse vehicles in Glasgow’. Any timescale? Any real details? Any why in Glasgow – virtue signalling to the loony Scottish pollies?

  6. Gamecock says:

    “Supported by a £750,000 grant from the Department Against Transport (DAT)”

    Fixed it.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Germany and hydrogen — €9 billion to spend as strategy is revealed
    Date 10.06.2020

    German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze told reporters that “green hydrogen will mean a boost to climate protection efforts,” adding that a nation like Germany should be able to afford “the very complex and expensive hydrogen production.”

    – – –
    It’s ‘very complex and expensive’ but in the UK ‘we are embracing the power of hydrogen’ 🙄
    Climate fantasy must be well funded.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Curious George says: October 3, 2020 at 9:45 pm
    “The trial of the HydroFLEX train took place in Warwickshire.” Any results?
    – – –
    Trials just starting…

    Report: “The next stages of HydroFLEX are underway, with the University of Birmingham developing a hydrogen and battery powered module that can be fitted underneath the train, which will allow for more space for passengers in the train’s carriage.”

  9. A C Osborn says:

    It is obvious that the development, manufacturing and running costs are immaterial when you are saving the planet.

  10. oldbrew says:

    Politicians are never called on to explain how reducing atmospheric CO2 from 0.041% to 0.039% (for example), in the unlikely event that their vastly expensive schemes were to achieve it, would make any difference to the climate.

  11. Colin MacDonald says:

    I know! Let’s have electric trains run from overhead electricity lines. That oughta work!

  12. pochas94 says:

    “The good news is that some people survived the Hindenburg.”

    Hydrogen disburses rapidly; it is almost impossible to make it explode. So calm yourself, Graeme.

  13. oldbrew says:

    Let’s have electric trains run from overhead electricity lines.

    O/h power is too expensive to build and maintain for low usage routes, or so they say.

  14. Ross A says:

    I don’t get it. Why not just directly electrify the lines? Its more efficient rather than going through various inefficient energy conversions. The carbon dioxide reduction should be directed at the point of electrical production, of course, electrical production should be increased.

    [reply] see previous comment

  15. stpaulchuck says:

    I can hardly wait for the first derail that cracks open the H2 tanks and evaporates the train and most of a nearby city.

  16. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Just pave the tracks and run buses and lorries on them.

  17. ivan says:

    This appears to be another non solution looking for a non problem to solve. Why use hydrogen as fuel for a motor, its energy density is low compared to diesel or LNG plus there is a BIG problem with it in production and distribution?

    There are so many things wrong with this idea that it should be scrapped and the money saved put to better uses. But then as A C Osborn stated costs are immaterial when you are saving the planet as far as the watermelons are concerned.

  18. oldbrew says:

    Antarctic ice is up to 3 miles thick and they think we need to fool around with hydrogen in a futile attempt to influence global temperatures?

    Annual mean temperature over the elevated central plateau is between -58°F and -76°F.

  19. oldbrew says:

    Hydrogen embrittlement in ferritic steels creates complications for clean energy storage, transportation
    06 October 2020

    Hydrogen can cause brittleness in several metals including ferritic steel—high-chromium, magnetic stainless steels that have a low carbon content that are used in structural components of buildings, automobile gears and axles, and industrial equipment. Recent advancements in experimental tools and multiscale modeling are starting to provide insight into the embrittlement process.


  20. Doonhamer says:

    Just to ensure that all those overhead wires are not wasted, the electric power could be used to electolytically generate hydrogen from water. Then the hydrogen and oxygen could be used by the catalytic converter.
    This would solve the problem of having to ship explosive hydrogen up and down the country and having a pressurised cryogenic tank on the train. All that would be needed would be supplies of water at strategic locations along the route. An improvement would be to recycle the water produced in the catalytic converter and then apart from injection of electric energy from wires it would be a completely emission free system.
    And do not say that this would be illogical, inefficient and financial nonsense, because non of these apply when it comes to saving the planet from floods, droughts, hurricanes total lack of wind, etc.

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