The world’s first hydrogen-powered train (in picture) entered service in Germany in September 2018.(AFP)
The world’s first hydrogen-powered train (in picture) entered service in Germany in September 2018.(AFP)

Green travel: Trial begins for first hydrogen-powered train in UK

The trial of HydroFLEX follows almost two years’ development and more than £1 million of investment.
Hindustan Times, London | By Prasun Sonwalkar
PUBLISHED ON SEP 30, 2020 05:13 PM IST

Britain on Wednesday began trial of the country’s first hydrogen-powered train that does not emit harmful gases and uses hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, water and heat.

The trial of HydroFLEX in Warwickshire in the Midlands follows almost two years of development and more than £1 million of investment by both rolling stock company Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham, officials said.

The technology, described by officials as “ground-breaking”, will also be available by 2023 to retrofit current in-service trains to hydrogen, helping decarbonise the rail network and make rail journeys greener and more efficient.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps hopes the Tees Valley in north-east England will become a hydrogen transport hub.

Shapps said: “As we continue on our road to a green recovery, we know that to really harness the power of transport to improve our country – and to set a global gold standard – we must truly embed change”.

“That’s why I’m delighted that, through our plans to build back better, we’re embracing the power of hydrogen and the more sustainable, greener forms of transport it will bring”, he added.

Stephen Jarvis, head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham, added: “The HydroFLEX project is a great example of how world-class R&D, together with the right industry partnerships, can deliver decarbonisation technologies that are both innovative and practical”.

“Successful mainline testing is a major milestone for HydroFLEX and is a clear demonstration of the important role hydrogen has to play in the UK’s rail industry”.

The world’s first hydrogen-powered train entered service in Germany in September 2018.

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