Ahead of his presentation at ‘Delivering the Hydrogen Economy’ next week, Mike Muldoon from Alstom talks about why the company has chosen this technology direction to add to its existing rail product portfolio and how it complements Alstom’s existing strength in electrification and rail system supply for the future.
Passengers are already travelling on the world’s first hydrogen trains, built by Alstom in Germany, with more significant orders already being placed there. For the UK a different train is required to fit the constraints of the Victorian gauge that defined the UK network. The smaller profile of UK trains makes packaging of the hydrogen fuel cell hybrid drive more difficult than in Germany – so how is it achieved? The “breeze” train, unveiled by Alstom in partnership with Eversholt Rail, demonstrates how hydrogen power can start to be deployed practically and effectively on the UK network, not in the dim and distant future but within three years.
Breeze trains will be converted to hydrogen power here in the north west, at Alstom’s Widnes Transport Technology Centre. Rooted within the Liverpool City Region, this facility places us at the heart of the regional hydrogen economy.
These new trains cannot function without hydrogen and their introduction helps to accelerate the hydrogen economy, generating significant, predictable demand in the transport sector and offering diverse opportunities for hydrogen suppliers. As more fleets are deployed, a hydrogen network will emerge to challenge and eclipse diesel on the railway, decarbonising the sector in line with government and global targets.