Hydrogen Traction

Hydrogen Traction

Hydrogen, is it the future fuel of rail?

In an increasingly climate conscious world, hydrogen is often touted as a future fuel due to its relative abundance and its potential with fuel cell use to deliver vehicles that emit only water in use. 

There are many ways that hydrogen can be generated - and this process is critical to how carbon intensive that hydrogen is. If you are just starting to learn about Hydrogen then visit our Hydrogen Basics page and if you want to understand the difference between Blue and Green Hydrogen then take a look at our Hydrogen T-Rainbow blog to get an overview.

For those already familiar with the basics of Hydrogen and want to know how we can help integrate hydrogen into your decarbonisation strategy - Read on

Beyond the basics

Ricardo have long been at the forefront of bringing new powertrains into service across many sectors. Our experts helped bring the first hydrogen fuel cell train (HydroFLEX) to the mainline in the UK, and are currently working on retrofit of fuel cells to passenger vehicles in the bus sector. You can read more about both below. Swapping a diesel engine and fuel tank for hydrogen tanks, fuel cells and battery storage together with all the control and safety equipment to deliver a safe and emission free experience for passengers requires a unique blend of engineering, technical and safety knowledge from our teams.  

Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines (H2ICE)

An alternative to replacing diesel engines with fuel cells, is to utilise Hydrogen-powered Internal Combustion Engines. These Hydrogen fuelled engines replace the burning of diesel fuel with hydrogen gas in a conventional engine format.
This retrofit option enables potentially lower-capital expenditure engine options to decarbonise rail transport re-using existing vehicles achieving both cost and carbon savings over new fleet purchases.

Importantly, there exists the possibility to modify existing diesel engines in existing assets to give them a new lease of life and achieve carbon savings.  This solution provides rollingstock owners with a useful option to avoid having to replace assets that are not yet life-expired and could offer a lower investment barrier to overcome in the transition to decarbonise rail transport.  

With over a century of engine design and optimisation experience, Ricardo teams are leading the way in this important area. You can find more information on Hydrogen engines below.

Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines (H2ICE)

Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines (H2ICE)

A path to turn dirty diesels green Read more

The Evolving Hydrogen Landscape

As the Hydrogen economy develops, like many energy industries, it is strongly shaped by government policy, incentives, and funding. Our policy experts keep alert to developments as they occur. You can read a few views in  a blog on the recent issue of UK hydrogen policy here and we offer news and technical update subscriptions below if you'd like to keep your own finger on the pulse of evolving  issues direct to your inbox. 

To keep pace with the evolving hydrogen economy, we have recently made a multi-million investment in our Hydrogen testing and Engineering facilities to provide for your project at every stage, from initial design and optioneering though development, testing, integration and finally approvals and certification, you can find more details of the testing and engineering facilities below. 

​In such a rapidly evolving fuel landscape, if you are not sure which route to take, or if indeed whether Hydrogen is the right route for you on your decarbonisation journey, then contact us for help with your decarbonisation challenge.

Hydrogen In Transport Hub

If you'd like to look at how hydrogen is developing in other transport areas look at our hydrogen in transport hub

Ricardo Rail Transportation Hydrogen Hub Link


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