It is estimated that the initial running cost of Hydrogen fuel train-set will be higher, which will subsequently reduce with increase in number of trains.
With the target of field trials, of the first prototype of hydrogen train, expected to commence in the fiscal of 2023-2024 on Jind — Sonipat section of Northern Railway, the national transporter is expediting the process of retro fitment of Hydrogen Fuel cell on existing Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) rake.
Besides, material procurement for setting up the hydrogen pump at Jind and to set up the infrastructure for operation of the first hydrogen train in the country, is gaining pace.
It would cost about Rs 70 crore for setting up the hydrogen plant at Jind, with a storage capacity of 3,000 kg of hydrogen.
The train, consisting of eight coaches and two power cars, would require 410 kg of hydrogen, to run four times in a day — covering 90 km distance between Jind and Sonipat in two hours.
The Railways has awarded the project for retro fitment of Hydrogen Fuel cell along with ground infrastructure at the cost of Rs 111.83 crore.
Moving in the direction of green transportation technology, Indian Railways has envisaged to run 35 Hydrogen trains under “Hydrogen for Heritage” initiative, at an estimated cost of Rs 80 crore per train and ground infrastructure of Rs 70 crore per route, on various heritage/hill routes.
Expected to cover the Kalka-Shimla heritage route, it would require three hydrogen plants at Kalka, Barog and Shimla in order to run the train.
The running cost of hydrogen fuel based trains is not yet established in the Indian Railways scenario. It is estimated that the initial running cost of Hydrogen fuel train-set will be higher, which will subsequently reduce with increase in number of trains.
Further, the use of Hydrogen as fuel provides larger benefits in the direction of green transportation technology and supports zero carbon emission goals, as a clean energy source.
Participating in a private TV event, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “Hydrogen train technology is very complex, where hydrogen fuel is converted to electricity to run trains. Only 2-3 countries have developed this technology. Prime Minister Modi wanted India not to follow other countries, but take the lead in this technology.
“Already all individual systems, like fuel cell system, power train system, vehicle control system, have been integrated and by December 2023 the first hydrogen train should roll on Indian railway tracks. It was a tough target, and the train has to undergo tests because human safety is of prime concern.”
Hydrogen trains are now operational in Germany and China.