Hoffrichter, Andreas (2013)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
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The technical suitability of hydrogen for railway traction is evaluated in the research. World-wide, diesel fuel is currently the main source of energy for railways but relies on petroleum and emits greenhouse gases. Hydrogen as a secondary energy can be produced from fossil fuels or renewables. Thus, a decrease or elimination of emissions is possible, and reliance on petroleum reduced. A well-to-wheel analysis for diesel, electricity, and hydrogen was conducted to establish overall efficiencies and emissions. The results show that hydrogen fuel cell traction has a similar efficiency to electric traction and reduces carbon emissions compared to diesel and in some case electric railways, if the hydrogen feedstock is natural gas. Renewable hydrogen would reduce emissions further. A prototype hydrogen-powered locomotive, the first in the UK, was constructed and employed for a performance evaluation; both demonstrated that hydrogen is suitable for railway traction. Computer modelling of a diesel-electric regional train, a hydrogen-powered vehicle, and a hydrogen-hybrid version was conducted. The journey time and the range of all three options was the same while energy reductions of 34 % for the hydrogen-only and 55 % for the hydrogen-hybrid, compared to the diesel were achieved.
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