Hyd-Energy: Future Hydrail Enabled Railway Depots

Hyd-Energy: Future Hydrail Enabled Railway Depots

University of Birmingham 

With support from Porterbrook 


The team aim to develop a concept design for the infrastructure that will be required to support the development of a hydrogen fuelling system at a local railway depot and to use this learning to develop recommendations for general hydrogen depot requirements, processes and procedures and equipment options for hydrogen production, delivery, compression and storage.




Dr Stuart Hillmansen, University of Birmingham 

How would you describe your project in one Tweet (i.e. 280 characters)?
"Developing ‘a beginners guide’ to the refuelling and maintenance of hydrogen fuel cell powered trains."

What are the benefits for industry, within in the context of the wider decarbonisation landscape?  
"Carbon emissions from electric trains are already a fraction of those from a diesel train, and are set to fall further as the National Grid decarbonises. But it's not sensible to electrify the entire network, so branch and rural routes urgently need and alternative to diesel traction. While battery-only trains may be suited to certain lines, hydrogen fuel cells offers a more flexible low carbon solution. Hydrogen fuel cell trains are ‘on their way’, but the industry needs guidance on the infrastructure needed to refuel and maintain them, which is what this project is intended to provide."

How does this project link with the work the university has been doing with Porterbrook on Hydroflex, the UK's first hydrogen train, and what benefits are you hoping to achieve?
"The HydroFlex Demonstrator is the first hydrogen fuel cell powered mainline train to operate in the UK. The experience and knowledge gained through this project will help the team understand many of the key issues surrounding hydrogen fuel cell powered trains and how to resolve them."

Team members
Job title and organisation
Dr Stuart Hillmansen

Senior Lecturer
Head of Traction Research
University of Birmingham

  • Railway traction
  • Traction batteries
  • Hydrogen fuel cells
  • HydroFlex
  • Railway air quality
  • Railway decarbonisation

Stephen Kent

Teaching / Research Fellow
University of Birmingham

  • Railway traction
  • Hydrogen fuel cells
  • Hydrogen Pioneer
  • Railway decarbonisation

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