Hydrogen gasoline cells are a greener strategy to energy automobiles. However they’ve additionally been cost-prohibitive. Right this moment, although, that’s beginning to change — on Monday, German passengers boarded the world’s first hydrogen-powered trains.
“Certain, shopping for a hydrogen prepare is considerably costlier than a diesel prepare,” stated Stefan Schrank, a mission supervisor at locomotive firm Alstom, which constructed the trains, in an interview with Agence France-Presse, “however it’s cheaper to run.”
The brand new trains transport passengers alongside 100 kilometers (62 miles) of monitor and can journey as much as 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) on a single tank of hydrogen, reaching high speeds of 140 kmh (87 mph).
Chemistry recap: Hydrogen gasoline cells generate electrical energy by combining hydrogen with oxygen, and their solely byproduct is water. That makes the cells a promising vitality supply that produces zero emissions and little or no noise.
Although they continue to be dear, hydrogen gasoline cells have benefits over batteries. As an alternative of recharging, for example, you possibly can simply refuel them such as you would a gasoline or diesel engine. And since prepare schedules are extremely predictable, it’s simpler to construct refueling infrastructure.
New analysis helps lower the price of hydrogen, and the gasoline supply is already in use elsewhere on the earth to energy buses and vehicles. Trains are a lot heavier, although, so powering them with hydrogen as an alternative of diesel might do far more to chop carbon emissions.
If all goes nicely with these first two trains, Alstom hopes to add one other 12 to its Decrease Saxony fleet. So whereas they may be the world’s first hydrogen-powered trains, they’re unlikely to be the final.
READ MORE: ‘World’s First’ Hydrogen-Powered Prepare Enters Into Service [CNBC]
Extra on hydrogen energy: Low-cost Hydrogen Gasoline Was a Failed Promise. However Its Time Could Have Arrived.