Transport Minister, Graeme Dey, MSP, visited Arcola Energy’s rail engineering team working on the Scottish Hydrogen Train project at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway. The Transport Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and University of St Andrews backed project will see the demonstration of a deployment-ready hydrogen-powered train during the COP26 climate conference.
Arcola Energy is now at the halfway point in converting a former ScotRail Class 314 electric train to hydrogen fuel cell technology as part of a programme to demonstrate the role hydrogen-powered trains can play in decarbonising Scottish railways by 2035. A key objective of the project is to create opportunities for the Scottish rail supply chain through skills development and local industrialisation of the technology.
Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: “I have been impressed by the enthusiasm and professionalism of all involved in this exciting project. The team is clearly demonstrating that hydrogen provides another available option to tackle the challenge of removing diesel as a source of power on our rail network.
“Our Decarbonisation Action Plan and its associated infrastructure investment, including hydrogen powered-trains, represents a significant undertaking. This requires careful, in-depth planning and design to ensure that we deliver the right projects at the right time which – when complete – will bring many benefits to local communities, businesses and rail users across Scotland. This project is tangible evidence of our commitment to make good on that plan.”
Leading rolling stock asset manager Angel Trains is supporting the project with an investment of more than £500k in a flexible refueller installation delivering green hydrogen. This investment will also enable further development and testing of the technology. The Scottish Hydrogen Train project is the first rail project incorporating a dedicated green hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.
“This project is an excellent example of Government, academia and industry working together to take an eco-system view of the benefits of carbon neutral technology,” said Dr Ben Todd, CEO, Arcola Energy. “We are delivering a hydrogen-powered train in a live rail environment – including a production-ready engineering design, a green hydrogen infrastructure while developing supply chain capability and new green jobs.”
Arcola Energy has started work on a manufacturing facility at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc in Dundee which will employ up to 135 people over a three-year period and established a rail engineering facility at Bo’ness employing eight people. Arcola will also open a new service centre in Glasgow with seven technicians.
The aim is to run the Scottish Hydrogen Train at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway during COP26. On completion of the project, the train will be available for local suppliers and academics to test and develop hydrogen technology.