World’s First Hydrogen Powered Chinese Tram
China’s pollution related problems are getting out of hand. Some of the major cities of the world’s most populous country are thought to have the worst pollution stats. Majority of this is due to the burning of fossil fuels by transport and industrial sector. The Chinese government is now working hard on introducing alternate and renewable energy based transport networks across its metropolises. Many Chinese companies are now working on such projects. One of these projects is this Hydrogen powered tram which is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
Though the technology is far from new, it has never been tested on this large scale before and the biggest predecessors have been much smaller automobiles. Installed in Qiangdao which is 650 kilometers from the capital, it has become a source of new debate whether such locomotives can replace the contemporary ones that are fuming clouds of toxic emissions every day.
Instead of burning fossil fuels, the engine of the tram is run by burning pure Hydrogen. Hydrogen reacts with Oxygen in a Hydrogen fuel cell to produce heat which is used to drive the engine. The only emission is water which makes this engine have dual advantages. A typical charging of the tram takes about 3 minutes and the range is close to a hundred kilometers making it a viable solution to the metro rail network too. It has 60 seats and it can house up to 380 passengers.
The project took 2 years to complete with several key institutions working together to make it possible. But there are many question marks regarding the project’s feasibility as Hydrogen powered engines are still very expensive and the fuel is highly flammable and thus dangerous. But if this tram becomes financially viable, it will be the first alternative energy mass transit system in the world, benefiting the environment and economy as well.