New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): Indian Railways has envisaged to run 35 (thirty five) Hydrogen-powered trains under “Hydrogen for Heritage” scheme at an estimated cost of Rs 5,250 crore (Rs 80 crores per train and ground infrastructure of Rs 70 crores per route) on various heritage/hill routes on IR Network.
Besides, Indian Railways has also awarded a pilot project to Medha Servo Drives Private Limited for retro fitment of Hydrogen Fuel cell on existing Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) rake along with ground infrastructure at the cost of Rs 111.83 crores which is planned to be run on Jind –Sonipat section of Northern Railway.
Field trials of the first prototype on Jind –Sonipat section of Northern Railway is expected to commence in 2023-2024.
The running cost of Hydrogen fuel based train is not established in Indian Railways scenario. It is estimated that the initial running cost of Hydrogen fuel train-set will be higher which will subsequently reduce with increase in number of trains. Further, the use of Hydrogen as fuel provides larger benefits in the direction of green transportation technology to support zero carbon emission goals as a clean energy source.
According to the Railways, the retrofitting of diesel-powered DEMU and converting it into a hydrogen fuel-powered train set will not only save the cost to the tune of Rs 2.3 crore annually by converting from diesel to hydrogen but also save the carbon footprint (NO2) of 11.12 kilotones per annum and particulate matter of 0.72 kilotonnes per annum.
According to the plan, the conversion project entails retrofitting DEMU in the 89 km Sonipat-Jind section. After this, two-hybrid narrow gauge locomotives will be retrofitted with hydrogen fuel cell power movement.
Under this plan, equipment includes a diesel engine, alternator, radiators, auxiliary generator, fuel tank water piping, batteries, and inverters to be removed from DEMU. Like electricity, hydrogen is an energy carrier. Hydrogen produces no tailpipe emissions when used as fuel in vehicles.
Using hydrogen-fuel cells in the Railways will be a major step toward reducing pollution from trains as the gas is known to be the greenest transport fuel. Hydrogen can be generated easily by electrolyzing the water from solar energy.