Industry consortium appointed to deliver Scotland's first hydrogen-powered train



A consortium of leading players in hydrogen fuel cell technology have been appointed to deliver Scotland’s first hydrogen-powered train.

The project has been commissioned by economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland and the University of St Andrews-basd Hydrogen accelerator.

The consortium will be led by hydrogen fuel cell integration specialist Arcola Energy and will be based on its A-Drive technology platform.

Rail engineering and safety experts Arup and Abbott Risk Consulting will support the project and toghether the players will form an integrated delivery team, with AEGIS providing regulatory third-party verification.

Arcola Energy CEO Dr Ben Todd said: “Hydrogen traction power offers a safe, reliable and zero-carbon alternative for Scotland’s rail network.

“The hydrogen train project is an excellent opportunity for industry leaders in hydrogen, rail engineering and safety to collaborate with Scottish technology providers to develop a deployment ready solution.

“We are delighted to be working with Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland and the Hydrogen Accelerator, to support Scotland’s strategy to make passenger railways emission free by 2035.”

Arcola Energy will develop the technology platform for the train’s new powertrain from its planned new Scottish base.

Arcola’s existing A-Drive platform will be extended to meet rail safety and compliance requirements, thereby aiming to enable the consortium to significantly reduce development time and cost to deliver a complete hydrogen powered solution in just 10 months.

The consortium includes:

  • Arcola Energy, project lead responsible for hydrogen fuel cell system engineering, design and integration, and project demonstration
  • Global engineering consultancy Arup, will provide specialist rail engineering expertise for technical concepts, high-level design and safety strategy. Arup’s Edinburgh office will also work with the Hydrogen Accelerator to chart the route to mainline deployment of hydrogen powered trains across Scotland
  • Abbott Risk Consulting, based in Edinburgh and Glasgow, will deliver specialist product development compliance and health and safety management
  • AEGIS Certification Services will provide third party safety certification and compliance verification
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Arup’s Scotland energy business lead Clare Lavelle said: “With Scotland’s focus on achieving net zero emissions by 2035 and rail playing a leading role in this, hydrogen offers a safe, reliable and zero carbon alternative to other forms of rail propulsion.

“This project is not only a crucial step in helping us understand the practical challenges of using hydrogen traction power on our railways, but an example of the type of investment Scotland needs to take advantage of the opportunity to build a secure, flexible, cost effective and zero carbon energy network.

John Abbott, managing director of Abbot Risk Consulting, added: “This is a really important project for us and for Scotland.

“We are already engaged in hydrogen fuel-cell trials for aviation. To be part of this consortium and to be able to apply our functional safety experience to such an important sustainability initiative for Scotland’s railways is a real privilege.”



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