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Published: 17 March 2023
The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for approximately one-fifth of global emissions. To address this challenge, there has been an increasing focus on transitioning towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation options. In this regard, capacitors and fuel cells hold great potential for powering trains, offering a clean and efficient alternative to fossil fuels.
Capacitors are devices that store electrical energy and release it quickly, making them ideal for providing quick power bursts. They are also highly efficient, with the ability to store and release energy with very little loss. This makes them perfect for accelerating trains, which require a lot of power in short bursts.
Fuel cells, on the other hand, generate electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen, producing only water as a byproduct. This makes them an excellent option for powering trains, as they provide a clean and efficient alternative to diesel engines, which are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Both capacitors and fuel cells can be used to power trains in a variety of ways. For instance, capacitors can be used to store energy generated by regenerative braking, which occurs when trains slow down and the kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy. This energy can then be released to accelerate the train, reducing the need for diesel engines and improving overall efficiency.
Fuel cells can also be used to power trains directly, providing a clean and efficient source of electricity. This is particularly useful for trains that operate in urban areas, where air pollution is a major concern. By replacing diesel engines with fuel cells, these trains can significantly reduce their environmental impact and improve the quality of the air in the surrounding area.
Moreover, fuel cells can also be used in combination with batteries to provide backup power during power outages or disruptions in the electric grid. This ensures that trains continue to operate even in adverse conditions, improving the reliability and resiliency of train transportation systems.
De-Niang Maria Peymandar, Design Manager at Siemens Mobility in Krefeld, Germany: "I am convinced that green hydrogen offers a lot of potential to reduce our emissions from transport and meet our climate goals. In a project with Deutsche Bahn, we will be equipping a Mireo train with fuel cells from January 2022. We are testing a completely new overall system consisting of a hydrogen-powered train and a newly designed filling station."
In conclusion, capacitors and fuel cells hold great promise for powering trains in a cleaner, more sustainable, and efficient way. As we continue to transition towards a more renewable energy future, these technologies will play a critical role in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and addressing the environmental challenges associated with transportation.
To see what else the experts in railway are focused on for innovation see our report
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