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article imageHydrogen fuel cell train planned for Scotland

By Tim Sandle     Jan 9, 2021 in Science
A greener transport solution could becoming to the UK. A Scottish project plans to have a train powered using a hydrogen fuel cell operational by the end of this year.
The new project is being led by Arcola Energy. The company is collaborating with a consortium of train operators and the UK state-owned rail network on a hydrogen fuel cell train. The aim is to have a fully-working demonstration model operating by November 2021. Also involved in the project are Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland and the Hydrogen Accelerator (which is a start-up company based at the University of St Andrews). The Scottish government is seeking the complete decarbonization of its train fleet by 2035.
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, with water and heat as by-products. With the train concept, the fuel cell is formed of an anode, a cathode and an electrolyte membrane. As stored hydrogen passes through the anode it is split into electrons and protons. Following this, the electrons are forced through a circuit that generates an electric charge. The charge can be stored in lithium batteries or sent directly to the train’s electric motor.
The project involves integrating the fuel cell power system into a Class 314 car passenger train. As well as the application of a cleaner technology, the project also has the objective of creating opportunities for the Scottish rail supply chain. This will include an initiative for skills development.
Similar developments are taking place in other parts of the world. In Germany, for example, scientists at the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg are working on a new way for trains to use hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity. This is based on the use of an organic carrier liquid to function as a liquid deposit bottle for hydrogen. Tests show that a single litre of the liquid can bind more than 650 litres of hydrogen.
More about Hydrogen fuel cell, Fuel cell, Trains, Transport
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