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Hydrogen-powered train makes UK maiden journey

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Ady130/09/2020 07:20:29
3847 forum posts
522 photos

Hydrogen-powered train makes UK maiden journey

A bit on wiki

Oldiron30/09/2020 07:52:20
521 forum posts
22 photos

Watched the video this morning. Progress at last. I hope it develops enough to be useful for longer journeys.


J Hancock30/09/2020 09:26:21
449 forum posts

Not against the idea but it still relies on 'making electricity' by a rotating machine , with all that implies, in order to

'recharge ' the tanks .

' That' ( nuclear power stations ), are falling like skittles at the moment ( Hitachi, EDF, China?/Sizewell/Bradwell ).

not done it yet30/09/2020 10:00:14
4989 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by J Hancock on 30/09/2020 09:26:21:

Not against the idea but it still relies on 'making electricity' by a rotating machine , with all that implies, in order to

'recharge ' the tanks .

' That' ( nuclear power stations ), are falling like skittles at the moment ( Hitachi, EDF, China?/Sizewell/Bradwell ).

At the moment I expect it is actually running on fossil derived fuel. No moving parts for solar PV energy production, mind. Hydrogen production from electricity is only worthwhile when there is a surplus, over grid use, which cannot be utilised elsewhere. Can’t see it happening in the short term. Maybe in a few years?

Swarf, Mostly!30/09/2020 10:02:17
544 forum posts
47 photos

Here's an interesting read:


Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

SillyOldDuffer30/09/2020 10:24:34
6309 forum posts
1380 photos
Posted by J Hancock on 30/09/2020 09:26:21:

... it still relies on 'making electricity' by a rotating machine ...

Not at all; solar panels. Solar isn't good at meeting fluctuating demand, but it's fine as a way of converting water into Hydrogen and Oxygen, faster on sunny days. Both gases are valuable.

As water and sunshine are both free, and the process isn't polluting, and burning Hydrogen doesn't cause global warming the economics are favourable.

The big problem with Hydrogen is it goes bang mixed in almost any proportion with air. Much more difficult to handle safely than other fuel gases. It can be done, but I don't see domestic central heating systems burning it!


john fletcher 130/09/2020 10:29:17
621 forum posts

I'm amazed at people who think electric cars is the answer to our pollution problems. Where do they think the electricity comes from and how is it produced. Also, the capacity of under ground cables are just not big enough to power all the car battery chargers which will be required. When our house, which was typical at the time it was built, it had a light in each room and one socket in the hall. Now most home up the road have a washing machine, dryers, fridge, freezer, immersion heater the list goes all on a 1920 cable and there is just one joint per pair of semi's. Just imagine how much energy is required to make a wind turbine and how long will they last, also consider the amount of energy to make PV panels and how long will they last. Then we have the biomass power station, importing the pellets from the US, apparently it just as polluting as the coal power station ever was, and what about the ship bring the stuff from US. As for hydrogen what a dangerous substance to have a train. John

not done it yet30/09/2020 10:43:13
4989 forum posts
20 photos

As water and sunshine are both free, and the process isn't polluting, and burning Hydrogen doesn't cause global warming the economics are favourable.

Yes, but... Almost all hydrogen is currently produced from methane - a fossil fuel - which does cause. CO2 pollution. The only advantages of using that source of hydrogen is to reduce (to zero) the pollution at the point of use, and as a ‘bridge’ between electrified sections.

Currently, producing hydrogen by electrolysis is barely a 65% efficient process, let alone the inefficiency of the fuel cells (less than 70% efficiency?) Using electricity from source to drive the motors, or charge the battery (still needed in this scenario) makes much more sense - at the present time - until there are relatively huge surpluses of ‘green’ electricity available.

Even Scotland, which can generate more than it needs for its grid, overall, still does not produce all of its requirement from wind/solar generation. No sunshine at night and the wind does not blow evenly all the time.

Hopper30/09/2020 10:54:27
4804 forum posts
105 photos
Posted by Swarf, Mostly! on 30/09/2020 10:02:17:

Here's an interesting read:


Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

Written by climate change denialist David Archibald who works for the US Heartland Institute which is funded by the oil industry.

So be sure to read some other sources as well to get the full story.

Edited By Hopper on 30/09/2020 10:54:59

SillyOldDuffer30/09/2020 11:47:29
6309 forum posts
1380 photos
Posted by john fletcher 1 on 30/09/2020 10:29:17:

... Where do they think the electricity comes from and how is it produced. ...


You can see where it comes from here:

At 10:25 this morning the main UK producers were meeting a 35GW demand with:

  • Gas - 45%
  • Renewables - 34%
  • Nuclear - 17%
  • Coal - 1%
  • Others, including Hydro, about 2%

And 3% of UK production is being exported to France.

Of the Renewables, Wind is producing 27%, Solar 4% (despite 100% cloud cover here), and Biomass 3%.

Not long ago when I first found this forum many posters claimed coal generation couldn't be replaced. Impossible, and yet here we are!


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 30/09/2020 11:49:03

J Hancock30/09/2020 12:31:06
449 forum posts

Just a small point which few of us know , about the use of hydrogen.

It has a heat transfer 2000x that of air and pure hydrogen is used to cool the big 660MW alternators in

our power stations.

No failures yet, that I know of.

Jeff Dayman30/09/2020 13:08:01
1884 forum posts
45 photos

For hydrogen powered cars of any sort there are a total of 13 refueling stations in the UK at present (from wikipedia) many in or near London, not surprising, really. Certainly not a station at every crossroads.

Luckily for those in Northern Scotland there is a station on Orkney, so just a short ferry ride and several hours driving to fill up! Good for the environment! smiley

In industry I have been involved with several projects to do with components for hydrogen powered fuel cells. These are very large cells being planned for semi-trailer full size highway trucks, highway buses, and more recently, electric trains. A big Germany-based electrical products firm is doing the trains.

Michael Gilligan30/09/2020 13:50:22
16342 forum posts
712 photos

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 30/09/2020 10:24:34:


As water and sunshine are both free, and the process isn't polluting, and burning Hydrogen doesn't cause global warming the economics are favourable.



Naive question : Is the water required to be ultra-clean and pure ?

... and if not, how (and at what cost) will the tanks be cleaned ?


J Hancock30/09/2020 14:05:05
449 forum posts

The question is about best use of the electricity produced first, a bit like growing wheat, etc, for bio-fuel, when eating it would be a better use ?

As for getting rid of gas !!!!! by 2050 AND being all electric heating ,etc, no chance at present rate of progress.!

pgk pgk30/09/2020 14:29:04
1910 forum posts
288 photos

UK electricity usage has been falling since 2004 by some 50 terawatt-hours so capacity for more EV's isn't the primary issue. While hydrogen has lots of losses in creation and use I'd expect future improvements there. One of the big issues with EV's is the energy wastage carrying the weight of those batteries about as well as time to recharge if using small battery packs. Big packs can get the first part reloaded quickly.. we do have 350KW charging stations being built now - just need some cars that can take that charge rate.
Reality remains that practical EV's are beyond most folks budget unless only using them for moderate daily commutes and local journeys (it is the majority of use). The other issue is access to charge points when living with on-street parking altough there are innovations there too. The biggest drawback is the price of leccy from these new charge points compared to home charging and how many charge points are forever out of commission - after an enthusiastic grant funded construction many don't get maintained well enough. Ecotricity is probably the main culprit in that regard.

The better benefit from electrolysis to H2 is avoiding waste when the wind blows and they turn off the extra turbines and still pay the companies for what could have been generated? Or is that just rumour?


Oven Man30/09/2020 16:36:35
70 forum posts
8 photos

Why do we always have to reinvent the wheel in this country. Hydrogen powered trains have been running in Germany for some little time now, so somebody has already cracked the problem of installing all the kit in a train properly.

Neil Wyatt30/09/2020 17:07:21
18221 forum posts
714 photos
77 articles

Just an observation, the main benefit for fuel cells (aside from greater flexibility in torque curves, mechanical simplicity, reliability etc.) over using it in an IC engine is that you don't get all the nitrogen oxides.

But yes, it is less efficient than batteries by quite a margin and requires more infrastructure, but as some have observed above if you 'refine' it using surplus power that becomes a non-issue.


Ian Johnson 130/09/2020 18:08:16
287 forum posts
82 photos

This is an interesting topic! The big chemical site where I used to work is investing heavily into hydrogen manufacturing. The added benefit is oxygen as by-product.

It is has also been a by-product of chlorine manufacture on site for over a hundred years, and has been used in the site power stations as a supplemental fuel for decades. It's a very useful gas!

And the go ahead has just been given for live trials of mixed hydrogen and natural gas for domestic use in the North of England.


duncan webster30/09/2020 19:11:34
2787 forum posts
41 photos

This describes making hydrogen from methane without producing CO2, it produces soot instead. I've no idea of how much energy is involved **LINK**

I believe that Germany already uses excess green power to produce hydrogen, and then pumps it into the gas main. Not as daft as it sounds because using gas for space heating is very efficient, and the gas main provides huge storage capacity. There is an upper limit to %H2, so I've read somewhere that they are working on converting the hydrogen to methane, which does seem counter-intuitive

Tim Stevens30/09/2020 21:00:26
1268 forum posts

Remember that when petrol was introduced for motoring (etc) there were scares about it being highly explosive mixed with almost any ratio of air. The railways banned the transport of petrol in tins - which was the only way it could be supplied to motorists pre-1910. But we found ways round it.

Electrolysis of water does not require pure water - in fact it is much less effective in pure water which is nearly an insulator.

When hydrogen is used instead of 'natural gas' someone needs to consider the relevance of the term 'natural'. Hydrogen is the nuclear fuel that keeps us all alive - not much more natural than that, is there?

Cheers, Tim

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