‘Emissions-free’ hydrogen train could begin testing later this year

Train manufacturer Vivarail and hydrogen fuel cell specialists Arcola Energy have joined forces to develop a hydrogen-powered train, which could begin testing later this year.

The concept train will have two carriages, with one housing two battery modules and one with fuel cell and tanks, both underneath the train.

The concept train will be used to demonstrate the system capability and test performance of the technology and it’s hoped the final hydrogen trains will consist of four carriages, with two battery driving motor cars and two intermediate cars housing the fuel cell and tanks.

Vivarail is currently building a fleet of diesel/battery hybrids for Transport for Wales which will share an almost identical design to the hydrogen train.

Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail​, said ‘I’m delighted we will be working with Arcola, a company with very similar values to our own.

‘We are both energetic and fast-moving organisations and believe that zero-emission trains are not only a possibility but will be vital in helping the UK meet its carbon reduction targets. I look forward to seeing new clean, green trains on the network in the near future.’

Photo credit – Arcola Energy

The concept train will begin testing either later this year or early in 2020 and will be based on the technology already developed for unit 230002, Vivarail’s battery train.

Dr Ben Todd, CEO of Arcola Energy​, said ‘We are excited to be collaborating with a fast-growing, innovative company like Vivarail that also shares our passion for making a difference on emissions and carbon reduction.

‘The proof of concept train is a great opportunity to see our technology, already proven in road transport, make the transfer to rail to help accelerate the adoption of zero-emissions and low carbon trains.’

In related news, Arcola Energy recently announced they will build a facility to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technology for buses near Liverpool.

The company has secured 15,000 sq. ft of newly-built premises in Knowsley which will house the company’s manufacturing, installation and maintenance facilities.