China has launched the world’s first hydrogen-powered tramcar, as part of the country’s efforts to tackle pollution.
The Xinhua news agency reported that the new environmentally friendly vehicle was developed by China South Rail subsidiary Sifang and was rolled off the assembly line in China’s eastern Shandong Province.
The tram can be refilled with hydrogen in three minutes and will be capable of running up to 100k/hm. Fitted with 60 seats, the tram is capable of accommodating more than 380 passengers.
Sifang chief engineer Liang Jianying was quoted by the news agency as saying: "It took two years for Sifang to solve key technological problems, with the help of research institutions.
"The average distance of tramcar lines in China is about 15km, which means one refill for our tram is enough for three round trips."
Liang also added that the overall running costs will be greatly reduced with this new tram.
Hydrogen fuel cells are widely used in the automobile industry as a new source of clean energy. But this is claimed to be the first hydrogen-powered vehicle in the field of rail transit, according to the news agency.
According to Liang, no nitrogen oxides will be released as the temperature of the reaction inside the fuel cell is controlled less than 100°C and water will be the only emission from the tram.
In January, the UK’s Network Rail launched the first battery-powered train in the country, a modified Class 379 Electrostar known as an independently powered electric multiple unit (IPEMU).