Engineering students design hydrogen locomotive

21 August 2012
By Rachael Fergusson
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Hydrogen locomotive

University of Birmingham's hydrogen locomotive

Credit: University of Birmingham

Engineering students and staff at the University of Birmingham have designed, built and tested a prototype hydrogen-powered locomotive.

The university said the narrow gauge locomotive was the first of its kind to operate in the UK. The hybrid train operates using a 5,000l hydrogen fuel cell combined with lead acid batteries.

The fuel cell is used both to power the permanent magnet electric motors and to charge the batteries, with the batteries helping to meet the peak power demands during acceleration.

The advanced cell, which has already been successfully deployed by the university on a canal barge, exceeded expectations when the locomotive was tested on Leicestershire's Stapleford Miniature Railway.

Dr Stuart Hillmansen, from the University of Birmingham's School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering, said: "Our hydrogen-powered locomotive is a clean and efficient example of how hydrogen power could work for future trains on non-electrified routes.

"We hope that our efforts will encourage the rail industry to take a closer look at this exciting technology."

Further information:

Watch a video on the locomotive.

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