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Hydrogen as an energy carrier for railway traction

Hoffrichter, Andreas (2013)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

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.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Roberts, Clive and Hillmansen, Stuart
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Department:The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Subjects:TF Railroad engineering and operation
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:4345
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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