Reading-based tpgroup is providing the hydrogen fuel cell systems that will power the production version of the HydroFLEX – the UK’s first hydrogen train. The contract is with British rolling stock owner Porterbrook, and is part of an initiative that aims to show how hydrogen powered trains can be safely and efficiently operated for future public transport.
The contract covers the supply of safety-critical hydrogen fuel cell systems that convert hydrogen into electricity to power the HydroFLEX. tpgroup is acting as the prime contractor for the integrated hydrogen fuel system, building upon the Group’s preliminary consulting work around developing the system requirements and configuration. The initial project will take approximately six months to complete and will be delivered by the team at the Group’s Gas Technology Centre in Portsmouth. The integrated fuel system will be deployed on a HydroFLEX train for a series of proving and demonstration activities.
A significant milestone in the HydroFLEX programme is the recent news of the collaboration between Network Rail and Porterbrook to bring the UK’s first hydrogen train to COP26. As part of a best of British low-carbon train technology showcase, the HydroFLEX will be used for invited guests to support globally significant discussions within its converted boardroom, as well as to transport them to fringe events such as the possibility of viewing the Zero Emission Train, Scotland’s first hydrogen powered train.
HydroFLEX was developed by Porterbrook and Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) as a response to the UK government’s challenge to remove diesel-only trains from the national network by 2040. Based on a Class 319 electric multiple unit, the HydroFLEX is fitted with hydrogen fuel tanks, a fuel cell and battery pack to provide independent traction power capable of operation with zero carbon emissions. The vehicle successfully undertook its first phase of mainline testing on September 29th – achieving top speeds of 50mph.
Phil Cartmell, tpgroup’s chief executive said: “We are delighted to be able to announce that our first hydrogen contract within the Rail Sector is with Porterbrook and the groundbreaking hydrogen-powered HydroFLEX. This is an exciting opportunity for our Green Business to be part of a critical initiative in helping the UK’s rail sector to meet its Net Zero targets.
“Further, we are immensely proud to learn that that the HydroFLEX, powered by tpgroup’s hydrogen system, will be part of the British low-carbon train technology showcase at COP26, and look forward to supporting our customer to ensure it is every part the success it deserves to be.”