Development of India’s first hydrogen-powered locomotive is at an advanced stage, say Indian Railways.
The new technology is being introduced to cut carbon emissions and reduce Indian Railway’s dependency on fossil fuels, with the company currently spending around $2.3 billion on diesel each year.
The locomotive is being built by the Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuels (IROAF), which is working on developing alternate sources of energy for its locomotives and Diesel Power Cars (DPCs).
In addition to hydrogen technology, Indian Railways has also started working on using bio-diesel for its daily operations and is setting up four bio-diesel plants, out of which two will be started by 2013.
The first two bio-diesel plants, which will produce 30 tonnes of bio-diesel per day, are being built at Tondiarpet, Tamil Nadu, and Raipur, Chhattisgarh, at the cost of over $5.44 million each.
“We are seriously looking at hydrogen and solar energy applications for our fleet. As per international prediction hydrogen is going to be only source of energy in future,” a Railway official said.
Railway is also working on a proposal of dual-duel mode for using compressed natural gas (CNG) and diesel on diesel electric multiple units (DEMUs), for which a project has been under implementation for conversion of 100 DEMUs into dual-fuel mode.
Indian Railways has also employed Westport, an international expert in natural gas engines, to tap liquefied natural gas (LNG) for use in its operations.