Ontario looks at hydrogen-powered trains

As hydrogen fuel cell technology improves, the application for ‘rail’ transit is close to become a reality.

The main problem for hydrogen fuel cell transit is that the cell tends to produce power at a steady rate, but poor in providing power at times of high demand, like accelerating out of stations. This has made fuel cell technology quite good for submarines but poor for transit – until now.

There is still a long way to go for a light H (Hydrogen) MU vehicle in the testing stageAi?? and heavy rail commuter train locomotives, but I think the future will be with the hydrogen powered train.

This will be good news for our efforts for the return on the interurban and the return of passenger service on the E&N.

Alstomai??i??s hydrogen train Coradia iLint first successful run at 80 km/h


Ai?? Alstom / Michael Wittwer

Alstom today successfully performed the first test run at 80 km/h of the worldai??i??s only fuel cell passenger train Coradia iLint on its own test track in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony (Germany). An extensive test campaign will be conducted in Germany and Czech Republic in the coming months before the Coradia iLint performs its first passenger test runs on the Buxtehudeai??i??BremervAi??rdeai??i??Bremerhavenai??i??Cuxhaven (Germany) route beginning of 2018.

The four-week test runs currently undergoing in Salzgitter aim at confirming the stability of the energy supply system based on coordinated interaction between the drive, the fuel cell and the battery of the vehicle. The braking power is also being tested to check the interface between the pneumatic and the electric brake.

The Coradia iLint is the first low floor passenger train worldwide powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, which produces electrical power for the traction. This zero-emission train is silent and only emits steam and condensed water. Coradia iLint is special for its combination of different innovative elements: a clean energy conversion, flexible energy storage in batteries, and a smart management of the traction power and available energy. Based on Alstomai??i??s flagship Coradia Lint diesel train, Coradia iLint is particularly suited for operation on non-electrified networks. It enables sustainable train operation while maintaining high train performance.

ai???This test run is a significant milestone in environmental protection and technical innovation. With the Coradia iLint and its fuel cell technology, Alstom is the first railway manufacturer to offer a zero-emission alternative for mass transit trains. Today our new traction system, so far successfully proved on the test ring, is used on a train for the first time ai??i?? a major step towards cleaner mobility in Europeai???, said Didier Pfleger, Vice President of Alstom Germany and Austria.

The dynamic tests are performed at Salzgitter plant at 80 km/h and in Velim (Czech Republic) at up to 140 km/h, the maximum speed of the Coradia iLint. For the purpose of the tests, a mobile filling station has been erected in Salzgitter to pump gaseous hydrogen into the pressure tank of the Coradia iLint. The hydrogen used for the test runs is the by-product of an industrial process, which is reasonably reused as a waste product. In the long term, Alstom aims to support the hydrogen production from wind energy.

The vehicle has already successfully completed the static commissioning process. All electrical and pneumatic functions of the trains have been tested and verified at standstill. TA?V SA?d has certified the safety of the battery, the pressure tank system and the fuel cell for the coming test phases.

The Coradia iLint was designed by Alstom teams in Germany at Salzgitterai??i??s site, centre of excellence for regional trains and in France notably in Tarbes, centre of excellence for traction systems and Ornans for the motors. This project benefits from the support of the German ministry of Transport and Digital infrastructure. Alstom has already signed letters of intent for 60 trains with the German states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-WA?rttemberg and the Hessian transport association ai???Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbundai??i??.



Ontario looks at hydrogen-powered trains for GO Transit

Ministry of Transportation to conduct feasibility study of hydrogen trains, which are silent and emit only steam and water, as part of GO electrification assessment.


The provincial government has decided to pursue potentially groundbreaking clean train technology as part of its plans to electrify the GO Transit network.
By Ben SpurrTransportation Reporter
Thu., June 15, 2017

The provincial government has decided to pursue potentially groundbreaking clean train technology as part of its plans to electrify the GO Transit network, the Star has learned.

At an announcement Thursday morning, the province is set to officially launch the long-awaited study and public consultation process on electrifying GO lines under its regional express rail (RER) program.

The Ontario Liberals say the $13.5-billion RER expansion will introduce all-day, two-way GO service on the busiest parts of the GTHAai??i??s regional rail network by 2025. The assessment of the programai??i??s environmental impacts is part of the government-mandated transit project assessment process (TPAP) that must be complete before the expansion can go ahead.

In an exclusive interview with the Star on Wednesday, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca confirmed that in conjunction with the electrification assessment, the province will also launch a feasibility study of hydrogen-powered passenger trains.

Passenger trains powered by hydrogen fuel cellshave yet to enter regular service anywhere in the world, but early models have reached advanced testing phases in Europe. Manufacturers say the trains are nearly silent, and produce no emissions besides steam and condensed water.

The feasibility study will help determine whether hydrogen trains might be a better option for the RER program than traditional electric vehicles.

ai???This is a decision that weai??i??re making that will have to last for a generation and beyond, so we want to make sure that weai??i??re at the leading edge of the technology,ai??? said Del Duca.

ai???It could be traditional electrification, it could be electrification by hydrogen fuel cell. It could be a combination of both.ai???



2 Responses to “Ontario looks at hydrogen-powered trains”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Ottawa has officially asked Alstom to do a 41 metre long test version (a la Ottawa’s Alstom Coradia LINT 41 DMU serving on the Trillium Line). The ILINT MU is essentially a hydrogen fuel celled version of the Coradia LINT 54 DMU.

  2. Haveacow says:

    The Hydrogen Fuel Cells used on the ILINT are made in Canada by Hydrogenics Corp. The current deal has Hydrogenics building 200 “Engine Systems” over the next 10 years. The company is headed out of Mississauga Ontario, with manufacturing facilities in Toronto, Belgium and Germany.

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