Scotland to demonstrate first hydrogen powered train later this year
A consortium of various stakeholders, including experts in hydrogen fuel cell technology, will work on converting an existing ScotRail train to hydrogen power.
Transport Scotland and ScotRail join Deutsche Bahn in the quest for hydrogen powered rail travel.
Scotland could soon see its very first hydrogen powered train, as a consortium of parties look to demonstrate a zero-emissions train at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow in November of this year.
Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland and the Hydrogen Accelerator, based at the University of St Andrews, have appointed Arcola Energy and other hydrogen fuel-cell experts to deliver the project. This comes after Deutsche Bahn announced plans to launch its own hydrogen-powered trains in Germany by 2024.
Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This project has the potential to be a game changer for the future of Scotland’s rail rolling stock.
“Our Rail decarbonisation Action Plan sets out to make our passenger railways emissions free by 2035, but to maximise our climate change ambitions, there is also a requirement to look at what we do with retired stock. If we can bring those back into use in a carbon neutral way, there are huge climate gains to be made.”
Based at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, the consortium says it will convert a Class 314 car passenger train, made available by ScotRail, into a deployment-ready and certified platform for hydrogen-powered train development.
Following demonstrations, the train will serve as a development platform for Scottish technology providers and academics, as Scottish Enterprise and the Hydrogen Accelerator explore opportunities for Scotland’s hydrogen-enabled low carbon strategy, according to the consortium.
“Hydrogen traction power offers a safe, reliable and zero-carbon alternative for Scotland’s rail network. The hydrogen train project is an excellent opportunity for industry leaders in hydrogen, rail engineering and safety to collaborate with Scottish technology providers to develop a deployment ready solution,” said Dr Ben Todd, CEO of Arcola Energy.
“We are delighted to be working with Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland and the Hydrogen Accelerator, to support Scotland’s strategy to make passenger railways emission free by 2035.”
Arcola Energy says it will develop the technology platform for the train’s new powertrain from its planned new Scottish base. Arcola’s existing A-Drive platform will be extended to meet rail safety and compliance requirements, which it says will allow it to deliver a complete hydrogen powered solution in just 10 months.