India is set to launch its first domestically produced, hydrogen-powered train in 2023. The train, named Vande Metro, will be a major step forward for the country’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions.
About India’s First Hydrogen-Powered Train
Vande Metro will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity. This makes it a zero-emissions vehicle, unlike traditional diesel trains.
The train will be manufactured by the Indian Railways’ Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO). It is expected to be initially deployed on heritage routes such as the Kalka-Shimla Railway.
The launch of Vande Metro is a significant milestone for India’s clean transportation goals. It is also a major boost for the country’s hydrogen fuel cell industry.
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More Additional Facts about Vande Metro
The hydrogen fuel cells in Vande Metro will be produced using water, which makes it a renewable energy source.
The train is expected to have a range of up to 600 kilometers on a single tank of hydrogen.
Vande Metro is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs in the Indian manufacturing sector.
According to Mr Vaishnaw the first indigenously designed and built hydrogen train would roll out in December 2023.
Germany has become the first country in the world to operate hydrogen-powered trains. These trains are emission-free and produce very little noise, emitting only steam and water vapor.
India’s “Hydrogen for Heritage” initiative
In a groundbreaking endeavor, the Indian Railways is embarking on the “Hydrogen for Heritage” initiative, a trailblazing scheme that aims to propel tourist trains along historic hill tracks using hydrogen as a clean fuel source. This visionary plan entails the deployment of hydrogen trains across ecologically sensitive hilly terrains renowned for their tourism potential.
Promoting Green Energy Solutions
A landmark report from the Standing Committee on Railways (2022-23) of the 17th Lok Sabha outlines the Railway’s proposal to introduce 35 hydrogen-powered trains at a cost of approximately Rs 80 crore per train.
Additionally, the necessary ground infrastructure for each route is expected to amount to Rs 70 crore. As part of an initial pilot project, the retrofitting of hydrogen fuel cells onto existing diesel electrical multiple units (DEMU) is slated for the Jind-Sonipat railway section.
The estimated investment for this project is Rs 111.83 crore. Once operational, this pioneering effort is set to significantly advance the adoption of green energy in rail transportation.
A Bold Step Forward
Commending this innovative stride, the committee emphasizes the need for the Indian Railways to fully commit to and fervently pursue this concept. The Railways have already taken a proactive stance by awarding a contract to convert a 1,200 KW DEMU into a hydrogen fuel cell-based distributed power rolling stock.
The inaugural field trials for the prototype are scheduled to commence in June 2024. The Indian Railways envisions the production of train sets featuring a fuel cell-based propulsion system, harnessing the potential of hydrogen fuel cells to provide traction energy.
A Glimpse of the Future
Anticipating a transformative future, the Rolling Stock Programme 2023-24 has authorized the allocation of 35 train-set rakes, each comprising six cars, for operation on eight distinguished heritage routes.
Through this initiative, Indian Railways is not just reimagining heritage tourism but also charting a course towards sustainable and environmentally conscious rail travel.
8 Heritage Routes
These routes include the
- Matheran Hill Railway
- Darjeeling Himalaya Railway
- Kalka Shimla Railway
- Kangra Valley Railway
- Bilmora Waghai Railway
- Patapalpani Kalakund Railway
- Nilgiri Mountain Railway
- Marwar-Goram Ghat Railway.