Sunday 5 November 2017

China launches world’s first hydrogen-powered tram in Hebei province.

China hydrogen tram Tangshan Heibei

In the last few decades, China has become a global leader in innovative mass transportations systems. Not just they are known for 20,000km of bullet trains, it’s small cities are developing innovative models for themselves and the world. Changchun city was the first to develop a tram or light rail system. Today, China has more than 15 Trams and light rails systems in the world.

The world’s first hydrogen-powered tram began its commercial operations in Tangshan, one of China's oldest industrial cities not far from the capital, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. It was developed by the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) Tangshan Co. Ltd in 2015. This is Made-In-China product is powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which is a superior eco-friendly measure.

With water being its only emission, the tram emits no pollutants. No nitrogen oxides will be produced as the temperature of the reaction inside hydrogen fuel cells is controlled under 100 degrees Celsius. The distance between carriage floor of the tram and the rail is only 35 cm thanks to the latest low-floor technology, which can remove station platforms and thus make boarding easy for passengers.

China hydrogen powered tram

This modern tram has three carriages with 66 seats and can run for 40 kilometers at a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour consuming 12 kilograms of hydrogen. It can be refueled in just 15 minutes. The four-station line includes a 100kg-capacity hydrogen refilling station.

The launch of hydrogen-powered tram marks a huge step and commitment towards eco-friendly public transportation. The city of Foshan in Guangzhou province have also decided to deploy 8 hydrogen fuel cell powered trams.

Trams are a highly successful and cheap mode of transport across the globe, especially in developed European countries. In comparison, India has currently only 1 tramway operational in Kolkata (operational since 1873). As India urbanises rapidly, at least 100 small cities will require light rail systems in next few decades.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Source – China Daily, Global Times.

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