China first hydrogen-powered locomotive hits tracks

China has developed its first hydrail- the hydrogen-based fuel cell locomotive. The locomotive is produced by CRRC Datong Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of state-owned rolling stock producer CRRC Corporation Limited (CRRC). The CRRC has 46 subsidiaries with over 180,000 employees. The new hydrogen locomotive has been developed in CRRC Datong plant in Shanxi province.

The locomotive has a set speed of 80 km/h and can travel with 700 kW for almost 24 hours. When it comes to its maximum traction load, it can be around 5,000 tonnes on a straight track. Like other hydrogen-powered vehicles, the CRRC locomotive also employs a mix hybrid system and install with a hydrogen fuel cell system and lithium battery.

Hydrail comes with a hybrid configuration, consisting of hydrogen fuel cells, rechargeable (mostly lithium-ion) batteries and electric traction motors. These locomotive uses hydrogen as a fuel source to produce power and provide a stable power source to the electric motor.

China is not the first country to produce hydrogen locomotive. There are also other countries which have launched their own version of hydrogen fuel locomotive. Germany’s Alstom launched the Coradia iLint in 2016, the world’s first hydrogen-fuelled train, with a set range of 600 miles on a single tank of fuel.

Engr. Haseeb Ullah

Haseeb covers the global energy market for both conventional and modern energy resources. His expertise is on the global energy supply chain from generation to distribution and end-users. He has a Master degree in Engineering Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
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