Hydrogen is regarded as a carrier for clean energy, and a carbon reduction technology vigorously developed by the international sector right now. Siemens Mobility has recently started on the R&D of a cheaper and more affordable liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) that refines on the utilization of fossil fuel facilities, and infuses additional competitiveness for future hydrogen energy transportation systems using the existing pipelines as the foundation.
LOHC facilitates hydrogen storage and transportation in low cost, and conducts hydrogenation/dehydrogenation through the temperature elevation, pressure alteration, and catalytic reaction of the hydrides. Hydrogen is in liquid under normal temperature and pressure for LOHC, where the storage dimension and weight exert advantages compared to general high pressure hydrogen storage and metal hydrogen storage, and the low cost as well as the multiple circulations help with mass utilization and long range transportation.
Energy transformation is a global trend. Apart from transitioning into clean renewable energy that emits zero emission or low carbon energy for the power generating system, several countries have also targeted at hydrogen by tackling key topics such as hydrogen production, storage, transportation, power generation, heat supply, and synthetic fuel. Through liquid storage and transportation for hydrogen, the existing pipelines will reduce the arduous phase of energy transformation.
Siemens Mobility has recently joined hands with German research institute HI ERN (Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg for Renewable Energy) on exploring the feasibility of adopting LOHC in railways. As pointed out by the former, LOHC adopts a hydrogen-absorbing organic carrier fluid, which is an organic compound that absorbs and releases hydrogen through chemical reactions, and not only does it avoid hydrogen leakages or dissipation, but also exempts the storage of hydrogen under low temperature and high pressure. Siemens Mobility also added that this technology is “affordable”.
Siemens Mobility has been focused on hydrogen train for a long time. The company worked with Deutsche Bahn at the end of 2020 on initiating the H2goesRail project, and are currently testing the next generation hydrogen train and hydrogen refuelling stations, including a system that fully replenishes hydrogen fuel within 15 minutes. The two parties also promised on manufacturing the prototype of the Mireo Plus H hydrogen train prior to 2024.
Albrecht Neumann, CEO of Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock, commented that hydrogen is a prosperous climate-friendly railway solution. Siemens Mobility, a major advocate of sustainability, has also provided a segment of Vectron for the testing of the LOHC technology.
Numerous countries are implementing energy transformation for their power systems, with the industrial and transportation industries also affected at the same time. Apart from electrification, hydrogen train is also an optimal alternative, with hydrogen fuel cells having already been applied in vehicles, buses, and trains now. This prospective substitution of fossil fuel can be incorporated into the future blueprint of transportation to generate greater benefits.
Alstom has developed a hydrogen train Coradia iLint that operates from the fuel cells and hydrogen storage tanks from within the train, and is capable of transporting 300 passengers under a driving range of over 800km as well as a maximum speed of 140km/hr. Coradia iLint has been tested in Germany, Netherlands, and Austria. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are centralized on Toyota and Honda.
(Cover photo source: Flickr/David Hall CC BY 2.0)