Immense Potential of Fuel Cell Railcars

Fuel cell-driven railroad car, © Alstom

Trains running on hydrogen could be used in the future as an alternative to diesel-driven railcars on non-electrified parts of the railroad system. Although railroad cars with fuel cell-battery engines still cost up to a million euros more than today’s diesel models, the efficiency gains of fuel cells and the lower maintenance requirements could lead to cost savings of 25% over the medium term, an economic analysis found. The first tests of the new technology are said to be conducted in the German states of Lower Saxony and Hesse.

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Alstom and Ballard approach the railroads

FCvelocity® (Source: Ballard)

Until recently, fuel cells have been of little importance in rail transport. This spring, however, the company CSR Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd., which is based in eastern China, presented a tram which is driven with hydrogen. The new H2 tram, which features a fuel cell system from Ballard, left the production line in the port city of Qingdao

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