India's first hydrogen train announced by the rail minister

India’s first hydrogen train announced by the rail minister; get familiar with the technology

3 February 2023

India will have its first hydrogen train built and constructed locally by December 2023 on the historic Kalka-Shimla route, according to Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s announcement on Wednesday. India’s early acceptance of the technology is seen as a significant step toward green measures, even if only a few countries are now using hydrogen-powered trains on a limited scale.Vande Metro will be the name of the upcoming hydrogen-powered trains. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, the Kalka Shimla Railway, the Matheran Hill Railway, the Kangra Valley, the Bilmora Waghai, and the Marwar-Devgarh Madriya are just a few of the historic, narrow-gauge routes that it will initially run on, making travel more environmentally friendly.

What are hydrogen trains?

Trains that run on hydrogen fuel cells rather than conventional diesel engines are known as hydrogen trains. The hydrogen fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity, which is then utilized to drive the train’s motors. Traditional diesel trains are not as environmentally beneficial as hydrogen trains since they release hazardous pollutants like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. Another advantage is that hydrogen may be generated using clean, renewable energy sources like wind, solar, or hydro power, making it a suitable fuel for these trains.

Limitations that must be overcome before maximizing potential

A significant barrier to the widespread use of hydrogen trains is their high price. According to the research and ratings firm ICRA, green hydrogen (hydrogen produced using renewable energy) costs about INR 492/kg in India. As a result, a fuel cell-based hydrogen engine will have an operating cost that is 27% greater than a diesel engine. The price of fuel cells and storage will also increase. Before implementing the technology for widespread use, safety concerns should be carefully explored.

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