The world’s first hydrogen-energy urban train with independent intellectual property rights has been produced via a joint venture between the CRRC Changchun Railway Company and Chengdu Rail Transit. Hydrogen-powered trains already exist, but this is the first specifically developed for an urban environment, they claim.
The train officially rolled off the assembly line in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, on Wednesday, the 18th of January, 2023, according to Chinese media.
The zero-emissions train adopted the key core technology of the Fuxing bullet train and is capable of 100 mph (160 km/h), making it the fastest hydrogen train to date. The train has a built-in hydrogen power system, which provides a strong and durable power source with a 373 miles (600 km) battery life.
Hydrogen is considered a clean, zero-carbon energy as it produces heat and electricity with only water vapor as a by-product. It can be produced from a variety of domestic resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind. Burning hydrogen produces no harmful pollutants or greenhouse gases – such as nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter – as for fossil fuel sources, thus reducing pollution and improving air quality as a result.
For the hydrogen-energy city train, a hydrogen fuel cell and supercapacitor were put in place of the original catenary power supply. The electrochemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen produces energy in the hydrogen fuel cell, with water as the only by-product of the reaction. In addition, the reaction process is stable, and the noise is low, the Chinese media reported.
The train of hydrogen-energy cars can run 311 miles (500 km) back and forth in a day, which can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 10,000 kilograms per year, the report said.
Because the train is no longer limited by how the catenary wors, it can be widely used in existing non-electrified line sections, increasing the application scope of urban vehicles. This is done without the significant investment in infrastructure and maintenance costs that come with electrification transition efforts.
China has an ambitious plan to encourage the growth of the hydrogen energy sector. According to a plan put out by the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration (NEA) in March of this year, the country will have about 50,000 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles on the road by 2025. Its annual hydrogen production from renewable energy will reach 100,000 to 200,000 tons.
According to NEA, China had around 270 hydrogen refueling stations by the end of June 2022, a small network compared with the country’s extensive presence of charging facilities for electric vehicles.