Hydrail - Hydrogen Railway Trains
Hydrail is a term used to describe the new breed of hydrogen
railway trains. Much focus has been given lately to hydrogen
cars and other vehicles, but little light has been shown on
the emerging hydrail field. Hydrogen trains pack the promise
of clean propulsion, fewer emissions and less dependency upon
The old west may have been a time of coal-burning, black
smoke chugging locomotives and more recent times have seen
diesel-powered trains chugging their own share of fumes. But
recent developments in hydrogen fuel cell technology have
made hydrail more than just a pipe dream.
Hydrail is especially attractive for applications such as
mining trains, and for railway systems at factories and military
bases. The military is especially interested in hydrail since
hydrogen fuel cell trains can serve as backup power generators
on military bases.
The U. S., Japan and Denmark are all interested in hydrail
technology. A company called Vehicle Projects out of Golden
Colorado is credited with developing the first hydrogen fuel
cell train. The 17-kilowatt, 3.6-metric-ton hydrogen-powered
mining train, powered by Nuvera fuel cells was demonstrated
in a working mine in 2002. Charlotte, North Carolina has also
expressed interest in a hydrogen railway system replacing
its current freight line, which connects to Mooresville 30
Japan has enlisted a couple of different companies to compete
for the honors of that countries first hydrogen train railway
system. The target date is the summer of 2007. Denmark wants
to be the first country in Europe to roll out a hydrogen train
as well. Denmark's target date is 2010 to have a 35-mile stretch
go hydrail between three cities in Western Jutland.
The First International Hydrail Conference was held
in Charlotte, NC in 2005 and in 2006, the second conference
was held in Herning, Denmark.
One of the most compelling arguments for adopting hydrogen
trains rapidly is that a vast hydrogen distribution network
will not have to be built anywhere near the scale that it
will have to be built for hydrogen cars.
The decreased mobility
of a train as compared to a car will be an advantage in delivering
hydrogen to just a few key refueling points along the rail
line. Trains don't drive off-road or in complicated city streets
and alleys like cars do, so this is an inherent advantage
It's true that hydrogen trains are not quite here yet, but
the future looks bright. So bright in fact, that the light
you see at the end of the tunnel, may one day just be a hydrogen
train. And, that my friend, is a fact. Also, look for hydrolleys
(hydrogen trolleys or streetcars) coming soon. The hydrolley
also makes much more sense that overhead electric lines.
In a few years time you may be enjoying your San Francisco
treat on a new hydrolley.