HydroFLEX, the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train – which features an alternative fuel storage system developed by Luxfer Gas Cylinders – will operate from Glasgow during this autumn’s UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).
Bringing together world leaders for key climate talks, this year’s event, the 26th in the series, will be hosted in Glasgow from November 1-12. Including an address from Sir David Attenborough the COP26 Peoples Advocate for the UKs Presidency of the UN, the conference aims to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
As part of the event, delegates are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century – with alternative fuel transport solutions, particularly hydrogen-powered innovations, high on the sustainability agenda.
Luxfer’s experts worked in close collaboration with both Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research, whose engineers designed and built the HydroFLEX.
From its alternative fuel facility in Nottingham, Luxfer developed and assembled a four-cylinder hydrogen fuel storage system for the train, featuring its G-Stor® H2 hydrogen cylinders.
Mark Lawday, a Director at Luxfer Gas Cylinders, said: “Hydrogen provides a really clean, viable and effective fuel alternative and we’re proud to showcase our industry-leading expertise to political leaders and climate experts, who will see HydroFLEX first-hand at COP26.
“With an alternative fuel legacy spanning two decades, we’ve been involved in several ‘world first’ hydrogen transport projects, producing bespoke fuel storage systems for double decker buses, refuse trucks and even the Energy Observer boat, currently on a worldwide voyage which will form part of the celebrations in Tokyo this summer.”
Helen Simpson, Porterbrook’s Innovation and Projects Director, said: “We are very excited to be working with Network Rail to take our new build HydroFLEX to Glasgow in time for COP26. This is a great opportunity for Porterbrook, and our supply chain partners, to show the world how the best of British engineering can build and deliver a sustainable railway.”
HydroFLEX has a hydrogen powerpack fitted to an existing Class 319 train and will eventually be able to run on conventional electrified routes - offering a range of around 600 miles and requiring re-fuelling only once a day.
It is hoped the hydrogen-powered train, that also includes an on-board boardroom, may be used to transport and host COP26 visitors.
The HydroFLEX is just one of a number of pioneering projects Luxfer experts have helped to deliver that are helping drive carbon reduction initiatives across the globe, including:
- The world’s first hydrogen buses. Luxfer has worked with bus partners to make hydrogen-powered buses a reality, with Aberdeen’s world-first hydrogen fleet of 15 double deckers hitting the streets earlier this year, featuring bespoke systems from Luxfer.
- The first commercially available hydrogen powered refuse trucks. In development for two years, Luxfer has worked with refuse truck manufacturers in Europe to design, fit and support 20 vehicles. With greater range and power than electric systems, a key requirement of heavy loads vehicles like refuse trucks, Luxfer is helping city authorities in these countries to reach their ambitious carbon reduction targets.
- The world’s first commercially produced hydrogen trucks. A multi-million-pound project integrating hydrogen technology into 60 trucks has been delivered this year, marking the first such green fleet in history. The vehicles will transport supermarket deliveries across Switzerland and are equipped with bespoke alternative fuel systems from Luxfer. Each feature a 190-kilowatt fuel cell comprised of seven high-pressure tanks holding around 35kg of hydrogen. This provides a long-distance range of more than 400km before refuelling, which far surpasses the capabilities of battery electric truck technology.
- The world’s first self-sufficient hydrogen-powered boat. Launched in 2017, the Energy Observer is a floating laboratory travelling from continent to continent, exploring practical solutions and new innovations in ecological transition. The world's first vessel to be powered by and create hydrogen, Luxfer installed and supplied hydrogen gas cylinders for the project.