Class 08 hydrogen powered

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Neo9320

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Sorry if it’s already being discussed, but just stumbled upon this:

Severn valley railway to convert a class 08 to use hydrogen power
The Severn Valley Railway along with the University of Birmingham and Vanguard Sustainable Transport Solutions have teamed up to work on a ‘ground-breaking’ scheme.

The new project, called The Harrier HydroShunter Project, will see the conversion of a diesel locomotive to run on hydrogen power, a first for the UK.
https://www.railadvent.co.uk/2021/0...rt-class-08-locomotive-to-hydrogen-power.html

any thoughts?
 
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Geoff DC

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Not being an engineer, would it be feasible to fire steam locos with Hydrogen stored in the tender?
 

TPO

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I would be rather skeptical.

Even if you managed to install a load of hydrogen bottles in the tender (or one large pressure vessel), there's 2 main issues. (1) Hydrogen being a tiny molecule (even compared to natural gas, methane) escapes really easily from very tiny holes so keeping the gas-lines sealed on a vehicle which is vibrating/bouncing around- as steam locos do- is not going to be at all easy and (2) I'm not convinced the thermodynamics stacks up. I'd need to do the calcs, but I suspect you get more energy when oxidising hydrocarbons than when you oxidise hydrogen. So even if you got it to work the steam loco may not be able to get very far without refuelling.

It's different for electrical motors as to get them working you feed hydrogen into a fuel cell which directly spits out electrical power (goes to motors via a battery for various reasons)- and is a far more efficient conversion rate of the energy in the chemical bonds to electrical energy compared to oxidising the hydrogen and raising steam which then provides motion. I think you'll see in the article that the 08 conversion is going to use exactly that- a hydrogen fuel cell-to battery-to motor system.

TPO
 

gingertom

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Not being an engineer, would it be feasible to fire steam locos with Hydrogen stored in the tender?
Interesting idea. I don't see why not. There will be range issues, and I dare say the HSE will have something to say about it.
 

TheEdge

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I feel like running around with a tender full of hydrogen poses just a handful of safety issues...
 

Nym

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It'll be quiet, hydrogen fuel cells don't tend to make noise.
Except for all of the masses of cooling and intake fans needed to make the (what I assume will be Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cells work. Which could end up being louder than some diesel gensets anyway because of the relatively immature (and relatively costed down) solutions for cooling and airing these units.
 

xotGD

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Most hydrogen related projects tend to stick 'Hy' in front of any random word. Therefore, I would like to suggest HyGronk.

Another step forward in decarbonising the railway.
 

R Martin

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Oh Dear! I am out of date ( Retired Engineer, 17 Years) I thought that the hydrogen was to be used as the fuel for an extensively modified "diesel engine". Back to the classroom for me!
 

Technologist

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Not being an engineer, would it be feasible to fire steam locos with Hydrogen stored in the tender?
Bituminous coal, loose comes out at 23 GJ per cubic metre.

Liquid hydrogen is 10.3GJ per cubic metre and compressed to 700 bar hydrogen is 5.3GJ per cubic metre.

So probably totally feasible given the mileage that heritage railways do.

That said if you want to phase out coal I would have thought that a bio energy or waste derived fuel would be much easier.

Regarding hydrogen trains it is a straight out terrible idea. The round trip efficiency of hydrogen is terrible, most of it is made using fossil fuels and you have to deal with high pressure gasses. It's also straight up unnecessary, see batteries.

If you don't think batteries have the required energy density go drive a Tesla. They don't have the density of your ambition is to hang a rectangular box on the underside of an existing train, however if you design the train around a battery like a Tesla is then ranges of 1000km at 300km/h are totally feasible, plus the recharging solutions are already in existence.
 

doorhanger93

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If you don't think batteries have the required energy density go drive a Tesla. They don't have the density of your ambition is to hang a rectangular box on the underside of an existing train, however if you design the train around a battery like a Tesla is then ranges of 1000km at 300km/h are totally feasible, plus the recharging solutions are already in existence.
A tesla isn't a train. The Wh/seat-kilometre for a 300km/h train might be around 45, without carrying any battery weight. so to go 1000km that's 45kWh per seat. For a 200 seat train, you'd need 9MWh to make the journey. Li-ion batteries might contain 200Wh/kg, higher than a Tesla battery pack. So 9000/0.2 = 45,000kg, or 45 tonnes, an EMU with that capacity might weight ~150t, so that would add nearly third of the weight, which would increase the power needed, meaning you'd need even more batteries to contain that power, so it'd be more like ~50t or a third of the weight, at 10MWh capacity.
A 500 seat HST might weigh ~400t, and use 22.5MWh over this journey, which would require 112.5t of batteries. 112.5/400 is more than a quarter of the existing weight, meaning you need more energy, and more batteries to carry that energy, so maybe a third of the weight is batteries, or ~130t, about 26MWh capacity. As you can see, the added battery weight is roughly equivalent to towing an entire EMU behind your HST as deadweight.

And are recharging solutions already in existence? Let's say you have a 5 MW charger, which does not exist but similar things are planned. For this 3.333-hour journey, the larger train would spend 4.5 hours recharging even if we don't account for the weight of the batteries and their extra capacity. That's means it spends about 60% of its working life in a shed! This is better for the smaller train, 1.8 hours to charge means it only spends 30% of its working life sitting around charging. So why stop there? Less capacity, more runtime! But wait, that's the complete opposite of how trains work. We haven't included the efficiency benefits of scale in our model, but as I hope I've shown above, the problem is that batteries don't scale well at all, with big diminishing returns from carrying the extra weight. Just because they work in a tesla, doesn't mean they work in a long-distance train. Just doing the maths for long-distance battery lorries looks increasingly infeasible, let alone a battery HST.
 
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billio

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A tesla isn't a train. The Wh/seat-kilometre for a 300km/h train might be around 45, without carrying any battery weight. so to go 1000km that's 45kWh per seat. For a 200 seat train, you'd need 9MWh to make the journey. Li-ion batteries might contain 200Wh/kg, higher than a Tesla battery pack. So 9000/0.2 = 45,000kg, or 45 tonnes, an EMU with that capacity might weight ~150t, so that would add nearly third of the weight, which would increase the power needed, meaning you'd need even more batteries to contain that power, so it'd be more like ~50t or a third of the weight, at 10MWh capacity.
A 500 seat HST might weigh ~400t, and use 22.5MWh over this journey, which would require 112.5t of batteries. 112.5/400 is more than a quarter of the existing weight, meaning you need more energy, and more batteries to carry that energy, so maybe a third of the weight is batteries, or ~130t, about 26MWh capacity. As you can see, the added battery weight is roughly equivalent to towing an entire EMU behind your HST as deadweight.

And are recharging solutions already in existence? Let's say you have a 5 MW charger, which does not exist but similar things are planned. For this 3.333-hour journey, the larger train would spend 4.5 hours recharging even if we don't account for the weight of the batteries and their extra capacity. That's means it spends about 60% of its working life in a shed! This is better for the smaller train, 1.8 hours to charge means it only spends 30% of its working life sitting around charging. So why stop there? Less capacity, more runtime! But wait, that's the complete opposite of how trains work. We haven't included the efficiency benefits of scale in our model, but as I hope I've shown above, the problem is that batteries don't scale well at all, with big diminishing returns from carrying the extra weight. Just because they work in a tesla, doesn't mean they work in a long-distance train. Just doing the maths for long-distance battery lorries looks increasingly infeasible, let alone a battery HST.
There are already battery trains in existence, why not base their potential usefulness on the experience gained so far? For example Vivarail .
Their ideas may not work in the long run but other companies are working on the problem.
With regard to hydrogen, there are prototype buses running in Aberdeen which one presumes are successful as a further 10 have been ordered. Luxfer, the company partly involved in building the engine, have considerable experience in building high pressure storage vessels so I think this is probably not an issue. A train is not a bus, but if the hydrogen bus works may be there is some way of adapting the technology to the railway.
 
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Speed43125

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There are already battery trains in existence, why not base their potential usefulness on the experience gained so far? For example Vivarail .
Their ideas may not work in the long run but other companies are working on the problem.
With regard to hydrogen, there are prototype buses running in Aberdeen which one presumes are successful as a further 10 have been ordered. Luxfer, the company partly involved in building the engine, have considerable experience in building high pressure storage vessels so I think this is probably not an issue. A train is not a bus, but if the hydrogen bus works may be there is some way of adapting the technology to the railway.
Hydrogen MUs already exist in service in Germany.
 

hwl

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There are already battery trains in existence, why not base their potential usefulness on the experience gained so far? For example Vivarail .
Their ideas may not work in the long run but other companies are working on the problem.
With regard to hydrogen, there are prototype buses running in Aberdeen which one presumes are successful as a further 10 have been ordered. Luxfer, the company partly involved in building the engine, have considerable experience in building high pressure storage vessels so I think this is probably not an issue. A train is not a bus, but if the hydrogen bus works may be there is some way of adapting the technology to the railway.
Hydrogen buses large existing because of large development grants.
 

doorhanger93

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There are already battery trains in existence, why not base their potential usefulness on the experience gained so far? For example Vivarail .
Battery trains have existed since the 1950s, and have always generally been expensive, but still somewhat successful for shorter runs. This wasn't about shorter runs though, this was a back-of-the-envelope calculation of what it would take to go "1000km at 300km/h" i.e. some kind of battery-powered TGV or ICE or Shinkansen. And the battery weights spit of out that calculation are absurd.
The overall point being that battery trains can never replace line electrification, only strongly supplement it - especially if you want a HST, you're going to have to hang those wires.
Hydrogen could in theory be a good stopgap to replace diesel emissions, since it doesn't suffer from the problems of batteries nearly as badly, (ratio of tank weight:hydrogen capacity actually diminishes with size) but I feel it'll end up just being another excuse not to electrify the lines. Although for a shunter, hydrogen is redundant compared to batteries, this seems to just be a university and a heritage railway jumping on a chance to do something interesting.

With regard to hydrogen, there are prototype buses running in Aberdeen which one presumes are successful as a further 10 have been ordered.
Hydrogen buses large existing because of large development grants.
While hydrogen buses may well have their future place in longer-range routes and perhaps more remote areas, and battery buses have their role on smaller, moderate throughput routes, modern "green bus" technology seems to often be used as an excuse to not build actual public transport infrastructure like trolleybuses and trams, and their associated dedicated roadspace, which is the only real way to manage high-volume urban surface transit in a modal shift away from cars. Most notably, Moscow tearing down its 90 year old, beloved trolleybus network to replace everything with battery buses that never actually arrived, and now most buses on those routes are diesel for the first time in nearly a century.
The solution is clear, as the same technology that makes battery buses possible means that it's now possible to make trams and trolleybuses that aren't permanently bound to the wires with only a small battery pack, without sacrificing the lightness, range, longer service life, and material sustainability of OHLE vehicles, as is currently done in Zurich:
 

hwl

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While hydrogen buses may well have their future place in longer-range routes and perhaps more remote areas, and battery buses have their role on smaller, moderate throughput routes, modern "green bus" technology seems to often be used as an excuse to not build actual public transport infrastructure like trolleybuses and trams, and their associated dedicated roadspace, which is the only real way to manage high-volume urban surface transit in a modal shift away from cars. Most notably, Moscow tearing down its 90 year old, beloved trolleybus network to replace everything with battery buses that never actually arrived, and now most buses on those routes are diesel for the first time in nearly a century.
The solution is clear, as the same technology that makes battery buses possible means that it's now possible to make trams and trolleybuses that aren't permanently bound to the wires with only a small battery pack, without sacrificing the lightness, range, longer service life, and material sustainability of OHLE vehicles, as is currently done in Zurich:
Agreed and I suspect some bus operators in urban area would too. The government likes /is fixated on hydrogen because it means it doesn't have to fund infrastructure spend up front.

The CCC analysis has shown that a couple of shortish wired motorway sections would effectively remove the need for Hydrogen HGVs and coaches in the UK.
 

doorhanger93

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The CCC analysis has shown that a couple of shortish wired motorway sections would effectively remove the need for Hydrogen HGVs and coaches in the UK.
If I'm honest, I'm deeply suspect of this whole motorway OHLE thing. Trolley poles work great on an urban bus but I really don't know about in motorway traffic at 70mph in real conditions, not just on some test track. Plus, I don't know who's going to pay for all the OHLE equipment just for use on a couple shortish wired motorway sections - it's not really a truly long range vehicle at that point, and introduces awkward maximum and minimum height restrictions, plus it's probably going to have to be low-voltage DC which isn't so efficient for long distances, especially at the high currents you'd likely have with lots of HGVs in one place, as they often are, unlike DC public transport and rail. And connecting to the lines while merging into a motorway seems very tricky!
Really the whole thing just seems like an excuse not to use railfreight, if you're going to OHL electrify HGVs on motorways, why not OHL electrify a freight line which can carry 80 HGV's worth of goods per train? I guess the proof of the practicality will have to wait until one of these schemes is actually built, but I doubt it even will be. Most countries can barely be bothered to OHLE an urban bus line, let alone a motorway.
 

supervc-10

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There are already plenty of BYD electric buses here in Manchester- they seem to work well enough. It seems like the average bus in London drives about 100 miles a day from what I can find online. That's not an unreasonable distance to make battery powered. The difficulty would not be with the bus itself, but the charging infrastructure at the depots.
 

2192

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Not being an engineer, would it be feasible to fire steam locos with Hydrogen stored in the tender?
If you really want the worst of both worlds, why not put a pantograph on the cab roof of your steam loco and a giant immersion heater in the boiler? At least you wouldn't get sputs in your eyes when you leaned out of the window.
 

kje7812

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There was a twisted sense of logic to them. It should be noted that they retained coal firing so the electric heater equipment was used whilst under wires and coal for off-wire work. In many ways, modern bi-modes with electric/diesel is the same approach, it just seems a strange way of doing it.
 

Ashley Hill

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Battery trains have existed since the 1950s, and have always generally been expensive, but still somewhat successful for shorter runs.
Just remembered BEL1 & BEL2 from 1913/17. Two battery electric shunters from the NSR and MR. BEL1 withdrawn in 1964 and scrapped whilst BEL2 is preserved.How far could they go on a single charge?
 
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