The first China-developed hydrogen fuel cell hybrid locomotive—from core power to main components—has started trial runs on a 627 km railway line for coal transport in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The hydrogen energy locomotive project was jointly launched by the Inner Mongolia subsidiary of the State Power Investment Corporation Limited (SPIC), CRRC Datong Co., Ltd., and the Hydrogen Energy Co., Ltd. of SPIC. CRRC Datong developed the locomotive, using the hydrogen fuel cell system developed by SPIC Hydrogen Energy Company.
Relying on its own railway, SPIC Inner Mongolia took the lead in putting the locomotive into application, realizing a closed loop from domestic R&D to application.
Li Lingtao, deputy chief engineer with CRRC Datong Co., Ltd., said that the hydrogen fuel cell hybrid locomotive has a design speed of 80 km/h. It can run with 700 kW of continuous power for 24.5 hours when fully loaded with fuel and its maximum traction load on straight roads reaches 5,000 tonnes.
Without changing any basic railway line conditions, the hydrogen locomotive can perform multi-purpose tasks such as operation, shunting, and rescue in various locomotive depots, car depots, marshalling yards, large factories, mines, ports, etc.
Compared with traditional diesel locomotives, the hydrogen locomotive will reduce carbon emissions by about 80 kg per 10,000-ton kilometer. The new-energy locomotive is expected to cut carbon emissions by about 96,000 tonnes a year running on the coal railway linking the Baiyinhua coal mine in Inner Mongolia with the port of Jinzhou in northeast China’s Liaoning Province.
On the 627-kilometer Jinbai railway transportation line, SPIC Inner Mongolia has an independent dispatching system, which can fully coordinate the advantages of power plants, railway transportation organizations, production dispatching and other units along the line in the system, and provide for the early operation of hydrogen locomotives.
The next step will be to develop jointly a 2000 kW hydrogen fuel cell hybrid locomotive suitable for broader railway industry applications.