The use of fuel cells for rail traction in Britain: an exploration of the internal and external costs.

Sampson, Beatrice Joyce (2022). The use of fuel cells for rail traction in Britain: an exploration of the internal and external costs. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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In Britain, 40% of rail travel uses diesel trains, producing emissions contributing to climate change and air pollution. Monetisation of the negative impacts of these emissions is termed external costs. Hydrogen fuel cells offer a possible solution to reduce rail transport-related emissions. Fuel cell rail is advantageous against diesel rail for reducing emissions, and against electric rail for reducing infrastructure requirements. However, fuel cell technology is currently more expensive, and the emissions reduction potential depends upon the source of hydrogen.
This thesis aims to explore the internal and external costs of diesel, electric, and fuel cell rail (with seven hydrogen sources), to determine the option which produces the least emissions, and determine the relative financial advantage of fuel cells as an option for the decarbonisation of British rail. The findings of the analysis show that fuel cell rail with hydrogen produced by electrolysis from renewable electricity is the lowest polluting option, with no emissions at point of use or during fuel production. The financial analysis shows that this renewable hydrogen option also has one of the lowest monetary costs, on a lifetime calculation basis. The thesis assesses the adoption of fuel cell rail in Britain, as a financially viable option in the pursuit of rail decarbonisation.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Steinberger-Wilckens, RobertUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Chemical Engineering
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
T Technology > TF Railroad engineering and operation


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