Hydrogen project opens up fuel cells on trains

April 20, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Researchers from the the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg are working on a new way for trains to use hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity which could in the long run be applied to street vehicles.

The advantages of hydrogen-driven vehicles are known: They run completely pollution-free - and even CO2-neutral if the hydrogen comes from renewable sources. The hydrogen to energize the fuel cells is stored in high-pressure tanks; alternatively, it is also possible to use cryogenic liquefied hydrogen. Of course, rail vehicles driven with fuel cell power trains would feature the same benefits – and the drawbacks: “Refuelling locomotives using the current method of compressed hydrogen or cryogenic hydrogen would require a completely new infrastructure”, explains professor Peter Wasserscheid, head of the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg for Renewable Energy (HI ERN).

"The Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) technology, in contrast, makes it possible to maintain the existing infrastructure as far as possible." The storage and delivery of large quantities of fuel would also be possible without restriction with LOHC technology, irrespective of the safety aspects that have to be observed with elemental hydrogen. LOHC is not classified as a hazardous substance.


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