If SRM University succeeds in its endeavours to develop indigenous hydrogen- powered passenger trains, Andhra Pradesh Secretariat will be first location in the country where it will be run to ferry its employees.
The SRM University has chalked out plans to work on hydrogen-powered trains, for which the State government has agreed to “extend its all possible help.” The university is holding talks with Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at Perambur near Chennai. The University is looking for an engine and two coaches and a track to conduct the experiments. It will take at least two years to take the project, christened as Jal Janak Rail, to a logical conclusion.
Speaking to The Hindu, SRM University AP Pro Vice Chancellor D. Narayana Rao said that the project would cost Rs. 20 crore to Rs. 30 crore. More than budget, it was infrastructure and key components such as fuel cells, coaches and engine were required to conduct the experiments. So, it would be joint collaboration with the ICF, he said.
Already works and experiments were going in some parts of the world in this direction. Alstom is leading the way by designing and developing its Coradia iLint, a fuel cell passenger train. It runs at a maximum speed of 140 kmph. “Our experiments and plans are to develop indigenous hydrogen powered train. Basically, there would not be any change in design of the existing engines. We will customise the power supply mechanism in currently railway engines to suit the needs of hydrogen powered train,” he said.
The SRM University proposing to develop hydrogen train which uses on boar hydrogen fuel as source of energy to power the traction motorsand/or auxiliaries. To suit the Indian terrain and requirements, the Jal Janak rail would be developed. It would cover a distance of 500 km in a day with an average speed of 42 kmph, he explained, adding, “We think that energy management will be the next step in the railway industry. The ministry of railways is also keen on encouraging innovative ideas.”
Prof. Rao said that the project details were discussed with Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. He encouraged the University to go ahead with the proposals and assured all possible help. “The “project would be taken up in association with the ICF,” he said, adding, “In next two years, we plan to run the train near AP Secretariat premises.”