In its latest move to advance hydrogen trains, Siemens Mobility will begin testing liquid organic hydrogen carrier technology in partnership with Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg for Renewable Energy.
The LOHC technology involves an organic carrier liquid absorbing hydrogen, releasing it only when required, which stops hydrogen escaping as a gas and negates the need for it to be stored at low temperatures or high pressure. By comparison, Siemens’ Mireo Plus H train has been designed to store hydrogen as a gas in tanks.
While some trains are powered using electricity – as industry and governments worldwide look to boost air quality and reduce reliance on fossil fuels – others still rely on diesel to carry out their journeys. According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, less than one percent of all rail miles in the U.S. are electrified, and about one-third of global trains.
Described by the International Energy Agency as a “versatile energy carrier,” hydrogen has a diverse range of applications and can be deployed in sectors such as industry and, as seen above, transport.
In addition to Siemens Mobility, a number of major companies have been working on hydrogen-powered trains over the last few years.
European railway manufacturer Alstom, for example, has developed the Coradia iLint, which uses fuel-cells and stores hydrogen as a gas in tanks. The iLint has undertaken trials and testing in Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.
Hydrogen is also being used in buses, automobiles and airplances. Hydrogen buses have been deployed in cities such as London and Aberdeen, while hydrogen fuel cell airplanes have also taken flight in recent years.
Major automobile manufacturers that have dipped into the hydrogen fuel cell market include Toyota and Honda, while smaller firms such as Riversimple are also working on hydrogen powered cars.