June 26, 2022
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Train
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Train


Diesel fuel combustion produces emissions that include air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. Many rail vehicles use diesel fuel as an energy source. Efforts to switch to hydrogen power have been driven by concerns about exhaust emissions and economical alternative power supplies.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology applied to railways offers the opportunity to eliminate harmful exhaust gas emissions and the possibility of low- or zero-emission energy supply chains. Currently, only multi-unit trains with hydra-rail technology are in commercial operation. The development of an integrated hybrid train simulator for intercity railways is presented. The proposed tool incorporates the effects of powertrain components during the wheel-to-tank process. Compared with the previous version, the proposed reconfigurable tool offers high fidelity with medium requirements and minimal computation time. We evaluate the feasibility of various train and powertrain configurations by combining single train simulations with federal greenhouse gas, regulated emissions, and transportation energy use (GREET®) models.

The Piedmont Intercity Service operating in North Carolina is used as a case study. In addition to diesel supply, the study includes six train configurations and powertrain options, as well as nine hydrogen supply options. The results show that not only are the hydrrail options feasible, but low- or zero-carbon hydrogen supply chains may be possible.