- 3 Oct 2016
From the International Railway Journal:
The Belgian rail network has 3536 kilometres of track, of which 2950 km are electrified.A study into alternatives to diesel traction on the Belgian rail network has found that full electrification or a combination of partial electrification and battery operation are the two most viable options, with hydrogen requiring more development before it can be implemented.
The study, completed by research group Transport & Mobility Leuven (TML) on behalf of Belgium’s Federal Mobility and Transport Public Service (FPS Mobility and Transport), strongly recommended completely removing diesel trains from the network in the long run, even if diesel trains are able to meet tougher emissions standards than the existing fleet.
TML found that the maintenance and other costs were considerably higher for hydrogen trains, due in part to the low durability and limited lifespan of the fuel cells. Although there were no extra costs for extra rail infrastructure, they would require a network of hydrogen production, transport and refuelling stations. TML says this would result in higher costs, especially while the hydrogen industry remains small-scale. The environmental benefits could also be overstated due to the amount of energy lost during synthesis, and the storage of hydrogen compared with the use of electric energy.