07 Jan 2021

Scotland’s First Hydrogen-Powered Train to Debut This Year

07 Jan 2021  by Molly Burgess   

A newly formed consortium, led by hydrogen fuel cell integration specialist Arcola Energy, is working to deliver Scotland’s first hydrogen-powered train before the end of the year, ready for demonstration at the COP26 event.

The milestone project will see the conversion of a Class 314 car passenger train, made available by ScotRail, into a deployment-ready and certified platform for hydrogen-powered train development.

To be based on Arcola’s A-Drive technology platform, which will be extended to meet rail safety and compliance requirements, the train is thought to create new opportunities for the Scottish rail supply chain.

Working on the project alongside Arcola Energy is global engineering consultancy Arup, Abbott Risk Consulting and AEGIS Certification Service, all of which were appointed by Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland and the Hydrogen Accelerator.

“Hydrogen traction power offers a safe, reliable and zero-carbon alternative for Scotland’s rail network. The hydrogen train project is an excellent opportunity for industry leaders in hydrogen, rail engineering and safety to collaborate with Scottish technology providers to develop a deployment ready solution,” said Dr Ben Todd, CEO of Arcola Energy.

“We are delighted to be working with Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland and the Hydrogen Accelerator, to support Scotland’s strategy to make passenger railways emission free by 2035.”

Project partner Arup will use the learnings from the project to develop a roadmap to roll out hydrogen trains to support the decarbonisation of Scotland’s network.

“With Scotland’s focus on achieving net zero emissions by 2035 and rail playing a leading role in this, hydrogen offers a safe, reliable and zero carbon alternative to other forms of rail propulsion,” said Clare Lavelle, Scotland Energy Business Lead, Arup.

“This project is not only a crucial step in helping us understand the practical challenges of using hydrogen traction power on our railways, but an example of the type of investment Scotland needs to take advantage of the opportunity to build a secure, flexible, cost effective and zero carbon energy network.”

Edinburgh-based risk and safety management consultancy, Abbott Risk Consulting (ARC), will bring functional safety, product development compliance and health and safety management expertise to the consortium.

“This is a really important project for us and for Scotland. We are already engaged in hydrogen fuel-cell trials for aviation. To be part of this consortium and to be able to apply our functional safety experience to such an important sustainability initiative for Scotland’s railways is a real privilege,” said John Abbott, Managing Director of ARC.

AEGIS Certification Services brings in-depth knowledge of UK rail industry certification and approvals processes. The company will provide third party safety assessment and compliance verification to deliver the hydrogen train and associated infrastructure.

“AEGIS Certification Services is delighted to have been selected to team up with Arcola Energy and partners for this prestigious project that will help to enable the Scottish Government’s objective of phasing out diesel only trains by 2035,” said Mark McCool, Managing Director.

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