The UK Government has selected five projects for development funding under its initiative to support new schemes that can help to reduce the railway’s carbon footprint.

A total of £1.75m was awarded to the decarbonisation projects, chosen in the second round of the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) First of a Kind (FOAK) competition.

Each of the projects will receive £350,000 to adapt technologies for use on railways.

The selected projects include the deployment of solar panels and a scheme that utilises hydrogen and oxygen to produce steam to power rail engines.

Responding to the initiative, STA chief executive Chris Hewett said: “It is fantastic to see solar innovation being championed in the UK. This kind of leadership gives Britain the potential to be at the forefront of the clean, smart energy revolution.”

“This kind of leadership gives Britain the potential to be at the forefront of the clean, smart energy revolution.”

UK Rail Minister Andrew Jones said: “We want a cleaner, greener rail network and transforming our trains will help make this a reality. The targets we set for 2040 are ambitious but are within our reach.

“It is encouraging to see the huge efforts already underway to make this happen. This funding will be vital in helping these fantastic projects adapt to the demands of rail and enable their potential roll-out, delivering a cleaner, healthier network for passengers.”

Run by Innovate UK, the FOAK competition is part of DfT’s wider Accelerating Innovation in Rail scheme and was launched in 2017.

In the second round of funding, it focused on two themes including reducing carbon footprints and enhancing passenger experience at the stations.

Innovate UK Manufacturing, Materials and Mobility director Simon Edmonds said: “The pioneering projects, for which we have announced funding today, can reduce both the costs and the carbon footprint of the railway industry and help innovative companies succeed, both here and in export markets.”

The UK aims to remove all diesel-powered passenger trains by 2040, one of the key steps to be taken to reduce carbon footprint.

The plan also includes making further investment in hydrogen, bi-mode and battery powered trains.