India Reportedly on Track to Deploy Hydrogen-Powered Trains

Brian McCowan, Zondits staff, 10/3/2022

Canadian producer of fuel cell systems, Ballard Power Systems, has reached an agreement with Medha Servo Drives to provide hydrogen fuel cells for commuter trains operated by India Railways. Eight fuel cells will be incorporated in the retrofitting of two locomotives that are currently powered by conventional diesel engines.

The fuel cells are scheduled to be delivered to Medha Servo Drives during 2023 with the trains going into service in 2024. The trains would be the first hydrogen-powered trains on the rails in India. Currently, only Germany has placed hydrogen fuel cell trains into service. The Coradia iLint trains went into service earlier this year in Lower Saxony, Germany, and are emissions-free running exclusively on fuel cells.

Both the German and Indian trains use a system generically termed Hydrail. According to Ballard Power, Hydrail uses a hybrid configuration of hydrogen fuel cells, batteries, and electric motors. The fuel cells convert the hydrogen into electricity, which feeds the batteries to provide a stable power source for the drive motors. The trains also feature regenerative braking to help recharge the batteries, which store any excess energy for later use. Regenerative braking is also used in most electric road vehicles to extend range and contribute to overall efficiency.

Ballard and Siemens are reportedly working together to develop advanced fuel cell powered trains for world markets.

Learn more about hydrogen-powered trains: