World moves to fuel cell trains
hydrogen powered fuel cell trains and cost factor dynamics
Why are railways around the world developing fuel cell trains?
It is to cut emissions from diesel powered railway locomotives. E.g. india has the third largest railway network in the world which has 30% diesel powered locomotives, that require around 2 billion litres of diesel annually. Apart from the above there may be circumstances when there may be lack of space & traffic to create and maintain catenary systems.
Hydrogen fuelled locomotives of present besides being equally powerful, are clean and efficient and require no poles and overhead wires.
Hydrogen for Heritage programme
India will have its first hydrogen train under Hydrogen for Heritage programme will will start running from December 2023 on the Kalka-Shimla historic circuit.
The upcoming hydrogen-powered trains will be known as Vande Metro. It will initially run on historic, narrow-gauge routes including the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, the Kalka Shimla Railway, the Matheran Hill Railway, the Kangra Valley, the Bilmora Waghai, and the Marwar-Devgarh Madriya, which will make travel more environmentally friendly.
Cost factor and other dynamics in running hydrogen powered fuel cell trains
Converting a train to run on hydrogen needs 80 crores more than diesel version, green hydrogen costs 4 times more than diesel & 4.5 times more efficient making the the hydrogen train operation cost 10-20% costlier but expected reduced cost of hydrogen fuel post 2030 makes it a good future investment. Service and maintenance costs are likely to be lower.