East Japan Railway Company will develop hydrogen fuel/lithium battery train, dubbed as "FV-E991," which is scheduled for test run in Kanagawa Prefecture in 2021 before formal launch by 2024, according to a news release of the company.
The company pointed out that the project has a budget of 4 billion yuan, as part of its effort to achieve energy diversification by 2027.
According to its blueprint, FV-E991 will consist of two railcars, one furnished with two 25 kWh lithium batteries and the other with high-pressure hydrogen storage cans and two 18 KW polymer fuel cells. As the major motive force, the fuel cell can function normally even under the low temperature of -10℃.
JR East predicts that at full hydrogen storage of 70 MPa, the train can travel 140 kilometers at maximum speed of 100 km/hour. Despite slower speed, compared with 120-130 km/hour of regular trains, and higher cost, the train will not emit any waste gas and CO2 in operation and doesn't need overhead cable or substation, cutting construction and maintenance cost.
This is the second shot of JR East at fuel-cell train, following the launch of a previous version, dubbed "NE Train," in 2006, which couldn't be commercialized, though, due to short traveling distance of only 50-70 kilometers.
To accelerate the development of fuel cell, JR East joined hands with Toyota in Sept. 2018 for developing fuel-cell train and bus and installing hydrogen filling stations on plots of land owned by JR East, with the ultimate goal of developing hydrogen-energy supply chain.
FV-E991, however, underperforms CORADIA iLint, also a hydrogen-fueled train launched by Alstom in Germany in 2018, which has a travel distance of 1,000 kilometers at the maximum speed of 140 km/hour.
(Collaborative media: TechNews, first photo courtesy of JR East)