Rail Applications

Rail Train Flow ChartIn addition to stationary power generation, hydrogen-fueled gas turbines have applications in transportation. For many modes of transportation, the lack of an established hydrogen infrastructure is a barrier to its adoption. In rail applications, however, this problem is less significant, since hydrogen fueling equipment need only be installed at existing stations. Additionally, rapid infrastructure development is not necessary, since hydrogen-fueled locomotives can be confined to routes where the fueling infrastructure is available. While hydrogen fuel cells have received significant attention in transportation applications, their cost is currently prohibitive. At a cost 80 percent less than fuel cells (about $1,000/kW versus $5,000/kW for fuel cells), hydrogen-fueled gas turbines provide much greater potential for adoption in the near future.

Gas turbines have several advantages over traditional diesel engines in rail applications, including smaller size and lighter weight for a given power output, as well as fewer moving parts and greater reliability. Preliminary analysis indicates that hydrogen fueled gas turbines can produce similar performance and range to diesel engines in passenger and freight applications while producing near zero emissions. Electric Jet, LLC, plans continued analysis and development of hydrogen energy systems for rail vehicles.

Rail Train Diagram