Network Rail has given the go-ahead for BOC hydrogen-fuel cell technology to be used across the UK rail network.
BOC's Hymera fuel cell produces energy by combining hydrogen with oxygen from the air to form electricity and water, meaning there are no carbon or particulate emissions as would be the case with conventional petrol- or diesel-powered generators.
In addition, the process is virtually silent, which is important for work at night or in built-up areas.
“The switch to a low-carbon, sustainable economy can only happen when the tools are available for industry to do its job,” said Stewart Dow, BOC’s packaged-energy manager.
“Hymera is a vivid example of a system designed to carry out specific tasks using today’s technologies while creating zero emissions.
“We are delighted that Network Rail has recognised the environmental – and fit-for-purpose – credentials of Hymera.”
BOC, a member of the Linde Group, said Hymera is particularly suited to remote or difficult-to-access locations, with off-grid applications in mind.
It is lightweight, even with the associated 54ZH portable hydrogen fuel cylinder, which means that it is less cumbersome than conventional generators. This is important where easy access is an issue.
BOC said another major benefit of the Hymera is that it was engineered with today’s high-efficiency technologies, such as low-energy lighting, in mind.
Diesel- and petrol-powered generators are notoriously inefficient at part-load, a problem that Hymera avoids, meaning that fuel is used more efficiently and with much less waste.
Higher energy loads, like power tools and mixers can still be serviced with Hymera, using the PowerPack developed for it, and BOC has also developed a DC version.
Network Rail has approved the use of the following products:
• the BOC Hymera hydrogen fuel cell generator and supporting 54-ZH lightweight cylinder, for applications such as LED lighting, security cameras, back-up power and comms;
• a twin LED lighting rig intended for use with the BOC Hymera, which gives an output similar to 2 x 400W halogen lights but is much more resilient and has a lower operating temperature;
• the BOC PowerPack, a high-power battery inverter capable of driving power tools such as 9in angle grinders and bandsaws.