Indian Railways Set To Run On Hydrogen Fuel-Based Technology


The Indian Railways will test this technology on the Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) on the Sonipat-Jind section of the Northern Railway, the Railways ministry said in a statement.

The Union Ministry of Railways announced that it had invited bids for hydrogen fuel-based technology tested on diesel-run trains to determine whether the operation could use hydrogen instead of diesel. 

Statements From the Government 

A total cost of 2.3 crores will be saved annually by retrofitting diesel-powered DEMU and converting it into hydrogen fuel-powered train, 11.12-kilo tonnes annually of carbon footprint will also be held and 0.72-kilotonnes per annum of particulate matter.

At the moment, this project will be based on converting two DEMU ( diesel-electric multiple units ) into hydrogen fuel cell power. Later in the process, two more locomotives will be converted as well.

From 21st September, the bidding of hydrogen fuel cell-based DEMU will begin, closing on 5th October. On 17th August a pre-bid press conference will be held.

Around the globe, only a few countries are using this technology, and tests are being conducted in Germany and Poland. 

If the implementation is successful Indian locomotives will be transformed to run on hydrogen-powered energy sources as it is cheaper and can be easily obtained.

Hydrogen power 

Germany unveiled the Coradia iLint, the world’s first hydrogen-powered train, which can run for 600 miles on a single tank of fuel on par with the distances that traditional trains achieve on a tank of diesel. Now that India has decided to test hydrogen trains, how will this hydrogen fuel technology benefit us?

Fossil fuels have become a diminishing economy, and the burning of these fuels dramatically affects climate change as it degrades the air quality all over the globe. There is an urgent need of consuming sustainable energy resources that will help reduce global warming to an enormous extent.

Hydrogen comes into the picture here as it dramatically reduces pollution. When it is combined with oxygen in a fuel cell, energy in electricity is produced. This electricity can be used to power vehicles and acts as a heat source that can be used for many other uses.

The advantage of using hydrogen as an energy carrier is that on combining with oxygen, the only byproducts are water and heat. The use of hydrogen fuel cells produces no greenhouse gasses or other particulates.

Indian Railways

According to various reports, India ranks 4th in terms of rail transport network size, providing a huge chunk of employment. Trains in India are primarily run on locomotives consisting of electric as well as diesel.

Annually 2.8 billion litres of diesel is consumed by railway making it the second most used mode of transport. Hydrogen fuel-powered trains are a new introduction in the transport industry of India.

If the implementation is a success, we can see this technology run on a large scale across the country and a step towards sustainability.

Time will tell the outcome of this development in the energy sector, a stepping stone towards sustainability and aiming for a healthy world.

Manan Khandelwal
Manan Khandelwal
A student of Mumbai University, an avid fantasy reader and a football enthusiast



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