A team of Chinese scientists have developed the first hydrogen-powered train in the world. It is hoped that the launching of this green train will contribute to the current efforts in reducing the massive amounts of smog in China’s most populated cities.
As the name suggests, hydrogen-powered train sources its fuel solely from hydrogen. One full tank of the chemical element can propel this train up to 100 kilometers with a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour. It is also expected that the current design can transport a minimum of 380 passengers per trip.
Hydrogen-powered train reportedly enters production phase
This innovative train was manufactured by the Sifang Company, a subsidiary of the China South Rail Corporation, in cooperation with a number of research institutions all over China.
The hydrogen-powered train has been in the stage of development for the past two years, and has reportedly started its production process in the coastal city of Qingdao in the middle of March 2015. It is expected by the local industry that the new train will be travelling China’s streets in the very near future.
What’s so amazing about this hydrogen-powered train is that its only type of operational discharge is water emission. The temperature inside the fuel cell is tightly controlled in order to prevent any nitrogen oxides from forming. As a result, the new design is the first fully-functional passenger train that causes absolutely no damage to the environment.
New design functions as a regular passenger train minus the environmental damage
The researchers also claim that this hydrogen-powered train is also cheaper to operate. “The average distance of tramcar lines in China is about 15 kilometers, which means one refill for our tram is enough for three round trips,” says Liang Jianying, Chief Engineer of the Sifang Company.
The new hydrogen-powered train is a witness to the Chinese government’s commitment to do something to solve its enduring issue with smog. The Chinese Environmental Protection Ministry has admitted this fact last year when it reported that almost 90% of its cities had fallen below the threshold for air safety standards.
Hydrogen-powered design a cheaper, environmentally friendly alternative
If this new design proves its worth, it encourages the rest of the world to follow China’s example. With its capability to reduce air pollution, at operating costs that are lower than conventional trains, it would be wiser for governments all over the world to adopt the hydrogen-powered train design.
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The Chinese government plans to spend 200 billion Yuan, which equates to just over 42 billion AUD, to lay new tram tracks in Chinese cities over the next five years. They plan to extend the existing network to more than 1,200 miles for railways as well as commissioning more trams.
Currently, only seven Chinese cities have the necessary tram tracks with their mileage totalling 83 miles. As it currently stands, that is not enough to help solve pollution problems in the immediate future, however, the Sifang Company is already coming up with solutions.
Photo courtesy of V. T. Polywoda on Flickr