World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Trains Enter Service in Germany

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    French rail transport company Alstom announced this week the debut of the world’s first hydrogen-powered trains, now running in Germany’s Lower Saxony. These represent a green alternative to conventional diesel locomotives, having fuel cells that “convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, thus eliminating pollutant emissions related to propulsion.”

    "This is a revolution for Alstom and for the future of mobility. The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell train is entering passenger service and is ready for serial production,” emphasises Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and CEO of Alstom. “The Coradia iLint heralds a new era in emission-free rail transport. It is an innovation that results from French-German teamwork and exemplifies successful cross-border cooperation.”
     
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  2. wyqtor

    wyqtor Limp Gawd

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    Yea, except for the small fact that producing that H2 in the first place is actually not that "green":



    Still, it's a good thing that some progress is being made.
     
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  3. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Beat me to it, hydrogen isn't a fuel SOURCE, it's a medium for transferring energy and a lossy one at that.
     
  4. mufcfan

    mufcfan Limp Gawd

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    I read that there is a lot of hydrogen generated by the steel industry which Toyota and others have started to harvest after this FCV idea was put on the table. So, hydrogen manufacturing is not the only source. I think there was also a plan to use oceanic water to get hydrogen.
    I hope that they can improve this further, because if it was more efficient, it would clearly be way better than the current alternatives. It is good to hear that industrial application started, because that always helps to progress the technologies involved. I would consider hydrogen fuel cell technology relatively young, so there can still be some quick wins there.

    I have no problem with battery powered cars, but I live in a flat which is situated far away from the closest parking spot, so I couldn't charge a car at home and I wouldn't want to do that for hours at somewhere else. It doesn't seem like that faster charging and/or longer range is right around the corner, unfortunately.
     
  5. B770

    B770 [H]Lite

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    no worse than how the battery isnt really green....watch how they make them and where they go when the EOL happens.... not even close to being green
     
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  6. RealBeast

    RealBeast Gawd

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    Those silly Germans, first the Hindenburg and now a hydrogen powered train. :rolleyes:
     
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  7. Krenum

    Krenum [H]ardForum Junkie

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  8. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    It's a chicken/egg problem. We live in a fossil fuel based economy and there's not a lot of demand for hydrogen. The cheapest source available is steam reformation of hydrocarbons. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as it allows the CO2 from the hydrocarbon sources to be sequestered.

    There's no reason you couldn't build out enough wind/solar capacity to generate a clean hydrogen reserve if that's the way things go. I've always thought fuel cell vehicles made more sense than electric cars.
     
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  9. Tsumi

    Tsumi [H]ardForum Junkie

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    A good way to implement hydrogen is use excess power that isn't being used, especially at night. Power plants cannot quickly shut down and start back up, and excess energy is run straight into the ground. Using that for hydrogen would go a long ways to making us more efficient.
     
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  10. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Can someone get some actual numbers on this? I would be surprised if these potential sources of hydrogen would account for even 1% of needed usage.
     
  11. tbonepat11

    tbonepat11 Limp Gawd

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    As always, producing the H2 uses tons of traditional electricty. ie, coal, nuclear, gas so it ends up being worse for the environment and more expensive.
     
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  12. Tsumi

    Tsumi [H]ardForum Junkie

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  13. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Well you would need to plug in a few more figures there, like approximately how much hydrogen it takes to do the same work as oil, but that figure is helpful. Globally, we use about 94 million barrels of oil a day (34 billion barrels a year), not sure what that translates to in terms of energy needed to generate hydrogen. Not that it has to replace it all at once, but I'm not sure it's enough to even make a visible dent.
     
  14. PaulP

    PaulP Gawd

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    The big problem is that H2 is difficult to store and transport. It also has the nasty habit of making metals brittle. Not really a good replacement for liquid fuels.
     
  15. bigdogchris

    bigdogchris [H]ard as it Gets

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    Hydrogen does not make sense, at all.

    Even if they did use green technology electrolysis, it's still less efficient than just using the electricity for battery powered cars.

    Skip the hydrogen and just go strait to electric.

    Logical fallacy.

    A hydrogen or electric powered car reduces well to wheel emissions over time where a hydrocarbon vehicle gains emissions over time (both relatively and actually).
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
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  16. MrDeaf

    MrDeaf Limp Gawd

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    All the reactionary statements about hydrogen fuel being less efficient blah blah blah...
    You guys/gals don't get it.

    It's a frickin' train! It's not like a car or truck with roadway limitations.
    They would electrify the tracks if it was cost effective. There, all that power efficiency mumbo jumbo went out the window, since the electricity is coming directly from the power plants.

    Diesel exhaust stinks and the engine is loud. If Hydrogen fuel powered engines don't have those problems, then it's more than enough reason to switch over, especially for a passenger railcar.

    Now, if the PR is marketing the technology correctly or not, that's debatable.
     
  17. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    If you produce the H2 with Tidal or geothermal energy it can be completely clean in the entire chain. This seems a better solution than traditional electric vehicles. Which need batteries that is a pollution source in itself, and it is less lossy to transport H2, than to transport electricity from the plant to the vehicles.
     
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