Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario, Canada, has been in discussion with local train manufacturer, Bombadier, about installing a hydrogen-powered train in the province. The first line would run along the much-traveled Toronto to Montreal corridor.
The concept of a hydrogen-powered train has also been pursued in Denmark, where a train is slated for launch in 2010, as well as in Japan, where the goal is to have a hydrogen commuter train within the next 20 years. There has been enough global interest in hydrogen-powered railways that Spain is set to host the 4th annual International Hydrail Conference in 2008.
There are two primary reasons why hydrogen power has been viewed by skepticism. A significant amount of energy is required to break water down into hydrogen and oxygen. Currently, that energy is supplied by traditional, dirty technology (think: coal or petroleum). That’s part of the reason Bush has been so quick to back it. The other shortcoming is the huge infrastructure that would need to be installed to allow hydrogen automobiles to conveniently refuel throughout the country.
A train, traveling a set route along a fixed track takes care of problem #2. Additional infrastructure would be similar to any refueling system. And as for problem #1, there are other proposed, greener solutions for generating the power.
The obvious question becomes: is there any reason to use clean energy to make hydrogen, or would it be more efficient to directly power the train with this energy? Although it’s always great to hear of plans for new, greener mass-transport, as Clean Break is quick to point out, McGuinty’s announcement came in the midst of an election campaign. Perhaps talk of hydrogen-power and the much-ballyhooed “water emissions” is just to give McGuinty the green guise he seeks.
Courtesy of our friends at EcoGeek
- Three Grand Junction Residents Go Car-Free
- NYC’s “Street of the Future”
- NYC’s Ninth Avenue Video Update
- The Two Mile Challenge
- NYCs Ninth Avenue Video Update