Fuel cell trains will play a key role in the transition to a zero emission economy. Hydrogen powered trains are poised to disrupt the rail industry as a cost-effective, high performing, zero-emission alternative to diesel. 

CRRC

Advantages of Zero-Emission Rail

Nearly any train route that is served by diesel trains can be served by a hydrail train. From regional and commuter train routes to shunt and yard systems, the replacement is one-to-one. Key attributes of fuel cell powered rail:

• As flexible and versatile as diesel-powered trains with a similar range

• No requirement for overhead catenary infrastructure and power substations

• Refueled in less than 20 minutes, and can operate for more than 18 hours between refueling

• Enables gradual electrification (one train at the time) aligned with budget availability

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How Do Hydrogen Trains Work?

Hydrail uses a hybrid configuration of hydrogen fuel cells, batteries and electric traction motors. The fuel source is hydrogen. The fuel cells convert the hydrogen into electricity, which feeds the batteries to provide a stable power source for the traction motors. The train’s brakes recharge the batteries, which store any excess energy for later use, and further contribute to fuel efficiency.

 

Urban train

Ballard's Experience

Ballard motive modules are powering the world's first hydrogen fuel cell powered fixed rail electric tram in China. Together, Ballard and Siemens are developing a new generation of hydrogen powered trains with extra-long lifecycle, high power density, and improved efficiency.

Siemens


Publications

Zero-Emission Fuel Cell Solutions for Rail Applications
Presentation –
Hydrail: Hydrogen and fuel cell for railway applications
World's first commercial FC powered tram line
Case Study - World's first commercial fuel cell powered tram line

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