The hydrogen fuel cell units that will power the production version of the HydroFLEX – the UK’s first hydrogen train – are being provided by tpgroup.
The contract is with Porterbrook, a British rolling stock company, and is part of an endeavor to demonstrate how hydrogen-powered trains can be run safely and efficiently for future public transportation. HydroFLEX will be featured on a global scale at the United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26), which will be held in Glasgow later this year.
The HydroFLEX will be powered by safety-critical hydrogen fuel cell devices that turn hydrogen into electricity. The integrated hydrogen fuel system is being built by tpgroup as the prime contractor, following on the Group’s preliminary consulting work in establishing the system specifications and configuration. The team at the Group’s Gas Technology Centre in Portsmouth will deliver the initial project, which will take about six months to complete. For a series of proving and demonstration activities, the integrated fuel system will be installed on a HydroFLEX train.
The recent announcement by Network Rail and Porterbrook that they will collaborate to send the UK’s first hydrogen train to COP26 is an important milestone in the HydroFLEX initiative. The HydroFLEX will be used for invited guests to support globally significant discussions within its converted boardroom, as well as to transport them to fringe events such as the possibility of viewing the Zero Emission Train, Scotland’s first hydrogen powered train, as part of a best of British low-carbon train technology showcase.
Porterbrook and Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) created HydroFLEX in response to the UK government’s goal of eliminating diesel-only trains from the national network by 2040. The HydroFLEX, which is based on a Class 319 electric multiple unit, is equipped with hydrogen fuel tanks, a fuel cell, and a battery pack to provide independent traction power with zero carbon emissions. On September 29th, the vehicle completed its first round of mainline testing, reaching high speeds of 50 mph.
Phil Cartmell, tpgroup’s Chief Executive said: “We are delighted to be able to announce that our first hydrogen contract within the Rail Sector is with Porterbrook and the groundbreaking hydrogen-powered HydroFLEX. This is an exciting opportunity for our Green Business to be part of a critical initiative in helping the UK’s rail sector to meet its Net Zero targets.
“Further, we are immensely proud to learn that that the HydroFLEX, powered by tpgroup’s hydrogen system, will be part of the British low-carbon train technology showcase at COP26, and look forward to supporting our customer to ensure it is every part the success it deserves to be.”