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Militant EV driver!
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Discussion Starter #1
I see this has been getting a lot of publicity again in the past week, as the local railway in Germany signed a deal to buy 14 of them.

http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/hydrogen-could-replace-diesel-in-15-years-says-lnvg-as-fuel-cell-train-contract-signed.html

Ironic then, that it was pictured parked on an electrified line.




The route where they plan to use these is a special case, as they claim to have access to a free source of "waste" hydrogen from a chemical plant. I really doubt it would be wasted, given the demand for it in the petrolchemical industry and oil industry, and the price it sells for.

If they intend to supply these trains with electrolysed hydrogen elsewhere, then one has to consider local grid emissions (as previously discussed, the idea of off-grid renewables generating enough energy to make hydrogen in serious commercial quantities is slim). If I take the UK grid for that, the train produces more CO2 than an equivalent sized diesel.

Also, it should be noted that that the line it is intended to run on is already 50% electrified and the remainder is short enough that the same weight of batteries as hydrogen tanks would be more than enough to do the round trip. In fact I cannot find a branch line in Germany where this isn't the case.

upload_2017-11-14_10-59-57.png
 

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Interesting couple of paragraphs at the end of an interview with the CEO of Hitachi Rail Europe (the manufacturer currently manufacturing the trains to fulfil the UK Government's enthusiasm for diesel/electric bi-mode operation), in this month's Modern Railways magazine.

He is entirely dismissive of Hydrogen for rail applications; his main point is that there's limited scope for economies of scale in the rail business where orders run to hundreds of vehicles, while his corporate sibling Hitachi Automotive supplies the likes of Nissan with orders for hundreds of thousands of vehicles. He therefore believes that rail will follow what happens in other surface transport applications (as indeed they currently buy diesel engines whose development is funded mostly by non-rail applications).

He therefore believes that the future for non-EMU trains will be battery/EMU hybrids, possibly with some diesel/battery hybrids. He points to existing service experience in Japan with diesel/battery hybrids and EMU/battery hybrids, with the latter already having 35-mile range between charging opportunities. He also notes that rail vehicles generally have less problem than cars with finding space for large battery systems.
 

Militant EV driver!
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
the manufacturer currently manufacturing the trains to fulfil the UK Government's enthusiasm for diesel/electric bi-mode operation
They are not the only ones. Stadler and Bombardier are also making bi-modes.

I notice the media has been much less forthcoming on this 528 kWh BEV train just announced: https://www.siemens.com/press/en/feature/2015/mobility/2015-02-oebb.php

This would actually fulfil the need for the line where the hydrogen unit is operating in Germany. It's almost as if Siemens read the presentation...
 

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They are not the only ones. Stadler and Bombardier are also making bi-modes.

I notice the media has been much less forthcoming on this 528 kWh BEV train just announced: https://www.siemens.com/press/en/feature/2015/mobility/2015-02-oebb.php

This would actually fulfil the need for the line where the hydrogen unit is operating in Germany. It's almost as if Siemens read the presentation...
Bombardier have a BEV/overhead hybrid too:
World Premiere: Bombardier Transportation Presents a New Battery-Operated Train and Sets Standards for Sustainable Mobility - Bombardier
And in this nice promotional video they claim 50% lower total cost of ownership compared to hydrogen:

While the Stadler units for East Anglia are diesel REXs, at least the diesel is in a separate power car that can just be dropped to turn them back into standard EMUs. Meantime, Stadler are doing battery/overhead hybrid tram-trains for Wales:

Stadler is Named Preferred Bidder to Supply 71 trains for Wales & Borders

There's also CAF's battery/overhead trams in Birmingham:

Transforming Public Transport

Also notable is Vivarail, who've done a battery powered version off their own bat, but are expecting government funding to produce a hydrogen version:
Vivarail D-Train projects make progress - International Railway Journal

So there's reasonably encouraging signs that while the hydrogen stuff gets all the publicity, the manufacturers are quietly getting on with the battery ones - rather like the bus business, where there's rather more BEV buses than HFCV but you wouldn't know it from the publicity.

Unfortunately the politicians seem to have an infatuation with hydrogen because it seems futuristic and revolutionary, so they keep on funding these headline projects.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bombardier have a BEV/overhead hybrid too:
I saw that, but the BEV range is a bit pathetic at 40km. It might have some niche applications (a UK version for the GWR Henley or Marlow branches comes to mind), but the Siemens one has much more capacity.
 

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Discussion Starter #11

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I saw that, but the BEV range is a bit pathetic at 40km. It might have some niche applications (a UK version for the GWR Henley or Marlow branches comes to mind), but the Siemens one has much more capacity.
I haven't managed to find any proper technical spec for the Bombardier unit. They claim in the press release 40km now and 100km in 2019 - given that they claim a modular system with variable numbers of batteries, it's not clear whether that's really a "2nd generation" of the train, or simply upping the number of battery packs fitted. 40km is certainly a bit poor, especially when they managed 50km on their test-bed train that ran in Essex a couple of years ago.

Meantime here's another UK proposal for adding batteries to an existing EMU to create hybrids for branch-line use:

BatteryFLEX Desiro EMU conversion proposed

That one's only a proposal; another scheme to add batteries to UK trains that's a done deal is this one to convert some diesel units to battery hybrid operation, in pursuit of fuel savings and no-local-emission running in stations:

Subscribe to read | Financial Times

These sort of upgrade schemes give hope that we will eventually see the electric/diesel bi-modes upgraded to overhead/battery bi-modes. There are of course people saying that they ought to be converted to electric/hydrogen bi-modes, but the momentum for batteries is looking pretty good at the moment.
 

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