How Innovative Hydrogen-Battery Hybrid Technologies can Transform Rail-Based Rapid Transit Systems in Ontario and in North America
A Transition to Hydrogen
Canada and the rest of the world need to reduce the collective dependency on carbon based fuels sourced from petroleum resources. It is unlikely that there is one “silver bullet” solution to the problems that originate from burning fossil fuels, but utilizing hydrogen as an energy carrier could feature prominently in our energy future. Carbon-free hydrogen will enable:
• Global energy security. Hydrogen allows us to eventually replace petroleum fuels with hydrogen produced from indigenous renewable and carbon free energy resources.
• Reductions in our output of greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating carbon from the fuel cycle.
• Reductions in urban air pollution. In Ottawa, Toronto and Windsor approximately 1500 deaths are attributed to the health effects caused by poor air quality. The economic impact associated with each of these deaths is estimated to be in the order of $2.5 million.
Background on Hydrogen as applied to Commuter Rail:
There is a general agreement among proponents of a hydrogen economy that rail projects are an ideal early application for hydrogen as a transportation fuel. There are many reasons for this. Some of them are:
• Unlike applications in car or bus design, space and weight are not a significant issue. A locomotive typically weighs more than 148 tonnes and has equipment spaces large enough for ample hydrogen storage and electromotive drive components.
• The optimal electromotive platform would make use of existing electric train technologies that are already pervasive in other jurisdictions such as Europe and Japan. These existing platforms can easily be re-configured into ‘hybrid’ systems that make use of advanced industrial scale storage batteries.