2016 Conference | 4-5 July 2016 | Birmingham, UK

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The University of Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education will host the Eleventh International Hydrail Conference in Birmingham, UK on 4-5 July 2016 and conferees are encouraged to attend the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' Railway Challenge competition on Sunday 3 July 2016.

To attend, please register here.

Date/Time: Monday, 4 July 2016 (09:00) - Tuesday, 5 July 2016 (17:30)

Location: Gisbert Kapp Building (G8 on the campus map), University of Birmingham, Birmingham, U.K.

Registration Fees: £100 General Admittance, £50 Students

Information on accommodation and programme announcements are available at http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/railway/events/2016-International-Hydrail-Conference-IHC.aspx or on this website at http://www.hydrail.org/hydrail2016

Please contact Nadeen Taylor if you require further information.

Since 2005, academic, government and industry pioneers have met annually to advance the deployment of hydrail—wireless hydrogen fuel cell powered railway electrification—for societal reasons: climate change mitigation; pollution reduction; and avoidance of short-life investment in expensive legacy electrification.

The annual International Hydrail Conference focuses on the use of hydrogen for railway propulsion, the associated benefits, and remaining challenges. The 2016 International Hydrail Conference is the second to be hosted by the University of Birmingham—the first university in the world to grant a hydrail-specific doctorate. Particular program emphasis will focus on the hydrail trams that China has begun to manufacture and on the fleet of forty regional hydrail trains to be deployed in Germany by 2020.


This is the first year since the International Hydrail Conferences began in 2005 that a major focus of the agenda will be hydrail passenger equipment now in service. Highlights of the conference agenda include:

China's two hydrail trams now in production: One is built by the CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co. Ltd. manufacturing division of China South Railways, the country's largest. The other is built by Tangshan Railway Vehicle Company, Ltd. in partnership with China's original railway engineering school, Southwest Jiaotong University, founded in 1896 as the Imperial Chinese Railway College.

Kenichi Ogawa of Japan's Railway Technology Research Institute (RTRI) will update the Conference on their hydrail railcar project—first described by Dr. Keiichiro Kondo in 2005 at the First International Hydrail Conference in Charlotte, NC USA. RTRI has been developing hydrail train technology since 2001 to reduce fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions—and also to position Japan for a future without overhead wire railway power.

Dr. Stuart Hillmansen—Senior Lecturer in Electrical Energy Systems and Head of the Traction Research Group at the University of Birmingham's Centre for Railway Research and Education—will tell how Birmingham first anticipated the rise of hydrail and moved to create the world's first hydrail-specific doctoral program.

Dr. Andreas Hoffrichter—in 2013 the first candidate to be granted Birmingham's hydrail Ph.D.—will tell how he came to pursue a doctorate in hydrogen railway traction and how he and the University of Birmingham got together to enable the railway industry to use renewable energy.

Stephen Kent, Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education and Shawn Laight of Singapore's Land Transport Authority will discuss the part that fuel cells could play in powering Britain's future rail network. This will include the recent study undertaken for the UK's Railway Safety & Standards Board which looks at the possibility of converting existing mid-life Diesel Multiple Units to battery/fuel-cell hybrids as well as the work currently being undertaken involving the Core Valley Lines in Wales.

Mark Kammerer, Business Development Manager for Hydrogenics, Inc, will tell how his company is coupling the storage of renewable energy with fueling of transit fleets, applicable to hydrogen fuel cell buses and trains, as well as the innovation-leading fuel cell power module technology being applied in heavy mobility applications enroute to commercialisation.

Raphael Isaac, a Ph.D. student at UC Davis, will present the latest on his cross-fuels comparison research examing fuel technologies and their economic and environmental implications for intercity/commuter trains and freight trains. His presentation will include background information on rail simulations performed in collaboration with the University of Warwick and Michigan State, comparing hydrogen, diesel, and related hybrid powertrains for rail applications.

Peter Eggleton of Telligent Group Transportation Consultants—Quebec, Canada—will describe a project retrofitting an industrial diesel switch engine for battery and hydrogen operations using Hydrogenics, Inc. fuel cells to help meet Canada's 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. He will also review how the 2013 Hydrail Conference in Toronto led to the widespread hydrail deployments about to take place in Germany.

Dr. Holger Busche, technical advisor to Detlef Matthiessen MdL—Speaker of the Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, Parliament for Energy Policy and Technology Innovation—will discuss plans for powering the entire State's rail network by wind and other zero-carbon sources by 2025. The 65% of Schleswig-Holstein's rail lines now using diesel traction will be electrified wirelessly using hydrail and excess off-peak wind turbine energy.

Mme. Yane Laperche-Riteau, Business Development Director for Ballard Power Systems, Inc. of Canada, will tell how Ballard chose to enter the hydrail fuel cell rail traction market around the turn of the century, now with projects from the USA to China, long before the eventual hydrail transition became obvious.

Stan Thompson, one of the Mooresville, NC, USA, originators of the International Hydrail Conference series, will tell how this unique effort to effect the innovation of a climate-friendly infrastructure technology years before its time came to be and where he sees hydrail going next.

As additional speakers are confirmed, they will be added to this site.

International Hydrail Conferences are non-profit events, organised by volunteers for the public good.


Latest News

The 10th International Hydrail Conference was held on Monday, June 22 and Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at the Charles Mack Citizens' Center (215 North Main St.) in Mooresville, NC USA. In addition to celebrating the tenth anniversary of the International Hydrail Conference series, this year's conference celebrated recent advancements in the commercialization of hydrogen-powered trains, including hydrogen-powered light rail developments in Germany, and other self-electrified rail transport options...
The Ninth International Hydrail Conference was held in Neumünster, Germany on 16-18 June 2014 in partnership with the Kulturlokschuppen Neumünster e.V. The event owes special thanks to Dr. Robert Habeck, Minister of Energy and Environment, State of Schleswig-Holstein, and his colleague Reinhard Meyer, Minister of Economy and Traffic, for their patronage; media partners Energie&Management, HZwei and SHZ-Verlag; our scientific partners, Fraunhofer Institut ISIT, Itzehoe, University of North...
MOORESVILLE, N.C., March 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year a world conference is held to coordinate work by scientists and engineers on using hydrogen technology to power trams and trains, replacing diesel oil and overhead wires. These International Hydrail Conferences (IHCs) were begun in 2005 by North Carolina's Mooresville South Iredell Chamber of Commerce and the Energy Center at Appalachian State University.This year's 8th International Hydrail Conference will be held in Toronto, Canada....
What you won't hear, but should, in news coverage about Hurricane Sandy and transit service interruptions is that hydrail—hydrogen fuel cell/battery hybrid—subway trains would be much less impacted by salt water flooding.Read more from Hydrail and Sandy: Learning the Hard Way at the HydrogenCarsNow blog.
The 2012 Hydrail conference was hosted by the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the Edgbaston Campus of the University of Birmingham. Presentations, videos and pictures from the conferecne are available for download at http://hydrail.org/conferences/49. The conference is produced with sponsorship from The Midlands Energy Graduate School, Science City Research Alliance, Mooresville Chamber of Commerce, University of Birmingham, and Appalachian State University.
The Seventh International Hydrail Conference (7IHC) will be held on 3 - 4 July 2012 at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. Our hosts will be the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education whose mission is "providing fundamental scientific research, knowledge transfer and education to the international railway community." Additional details available at www.hydrail.org. Conference Information Online Registration
A small-town environmental transit project has reached around the world. History of the Mooresville Hydrail Initiative.
21 June 2011 | Feature Article | www.railway-technology.com The hydrail concept promises cleaner rail travel in the future thanks to a new breed of hydrogen-powered train. With Japan, the US, China and the EU all having announced research into this relatively new technology, Rowan Watt-Pringle examines the potential for a lean, green new transport sector.
BBC Features The Great Train Race BBC Video | Fuel cell-powered model train wins 10-mile race... Fuel Cell Today 21-June-2011 Hydrogen Fuel Cell-powered Switch Locomotive CNN Report on YouTube | Pentagon Channel News via YouTube | News features on the world's first hydrogen and fuel cell-powered switch locomotive, developed by Vehicle Projects LLC of Colorado.  
Nov. 29, 2010 - China has successfully launched its first new energy fuel cell light-rail train. According to the People's Daily Online, the locomotive was jointly developed by the China North Vehicle Yongji Electric Motor Corporation and theSouthwest Jiaotong University. In addition to using hydrogen fuel to provide power using a fuel cell, the hydrail locomotive also uses an advanced permanent-magnet synchronous motor.  

Hydrail in the News

Jun 21, 2016 | Railway Technology
After years of speculation about the merits of hydrogen for rail transportation, the German state of Schleswig-Holstein announced plans to electrify its entire railway network using hydrail fuel cell equipment by 2025. Those behind the project believe this will mark a major step in popularising the environmentally friendly technology.
Aug 5, 2015 | Mass Transit
TIG/m, LLC Delivers Third Hydrogen/Hybrid Streetcar to Aruba in Island’s Transition to 100% SustainabilityTIG/m's self-powered pollution-free streetcars are helping Aruba pave the way to 100% renewable energy by 2020 Los Angeles, July 20, 2015 - TIG/m, LLC, manufacturers of the world’s greenest streetcars for inner-city public transportation, is delivering its third hydrogen/hybrid, pollution-free, heritage-style streetcar to Oranjestad, the capital of the Dutch island nation of Aruba.
Jun 1, 2015 | Hydrogenics Press Release
Gladbeck, Germany – May 27, 2015 – Hydrogenics Corporation (NASDAQ: HYGS; TSX: HYG) ("Hydrogenics" or "the Company"), a leading developer and manufacturer of hydrogen generation and hydrogen-based power modules, today announced that it has signed a 10 year exclusive agreement to supply Alstom Transport with hydrogen fuel cell systems for Regional Commuter Trains in Europe
Apr 9, 2015 | Press Release, Ballard Power Systems
Vancouver, Canada and Qingdao, China – Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP; TSX: BLD) today announced that the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered fixed rail electric tram was successfully demonstrated at a ceremonial event held in March at the head office, production and testing facility of CSR Qingdao Sifang Company (CSR Sifang), a Chinese rolling stock manufacturer based in Qingdao, Shandong province. “This is an exciting demonstration of our world leading fuel cell power modules in a new application,” said Randy MacEwen, Ballard’s President and CEO. “Clean urban transportation...Other Coverage:China's Hydrogen-Powered Future Starts in Trams, Not Cars, BloombergChina has created the world's first hydrogen fuel cell streetcar, Business InsiderSmog-beater: First hydrogen powered tram developed in China, RT News
Oct 1, 2014 | Railway Gazette
GERMANY - Alstom Transport hopes to have 40 fuel cell-powered trains in commercial service on regional lines in Germany by 2020 under an accord signed at the InnoTrans trade show in Berlin on September 24. Under the letters of intent signed between Alstom, the Länder of Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Baden-Württemberg and the transport authority of Hesse, two prototype trains are to be developed by the end of 2018 for revenue service trials...continue reading at Railway Gazette.
Dec 6, 2013 | ReliOn Press Release
Spokane, WA – ReliOn, the leading provider of high reliability fuel cell solutions for backup power and grid-support applications, has recently launched its newly enhanced E-200 fuel cell system. This product is fueled by hydrogen and offers a number of features designed to improve customer usability, ease of maintenance, and performance.
May 28, 2013 | Railway Technology
As the railway industry considers possible replacements for carbon-intensive diesel fuel, hydrogen and LNG stand out as major contenders. But rather than competing over dominance of the locomotive fuel market, could the development of one short-term fuel system lead organically into a long-term, sustainable fuel solution?
Mar 27, 2013 | The Alternative Energy eMagazine
ARUBA--Mr. Oslin B. Sevinger, Minister of Integration, Infrastructure and Environment of Aruba, recently accepted the delivery of the Island's second streetcar and announced the purchase of two additional self-powered, pollution free streetcars from TIG/m Modern Street Railways (http://www.tig-m.com), manufacturers of the world's greenest streetcars for inner-city public transportation.The fuel cells will be fueled with sustainable hydrogen produced by electrolysis powered mostly from the island nation's massive wind resource. While the streetcars are hybrid-electric and primarily battery powered, the addition of the fuel cell will enable the streetcars to operate for a full day without service interruptions for recharging. The streetcars are state-of-the-art self-electrified urban transport vehicles that travel on rails but require no overhead catenary infrastructure. (http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/blog2/index.php/infrastructure/aruba-to-d...)
On September 17, 2012, the UK's first hydrail locomotive, Hydrogen Pioneer, was featured at the Hannover, Germany, stop of the H2Moves Scandinavia European Road Tour. Hydrogen Pioneer was built by the University of Birmingham's Centre for Railway Research and Education. It was the first rail vehicle to be included in the Road Tour, whose main focus is hydrogen cars. Hydrogen Pioneer's appearance in Hannover, Germany, was arranged by Dr. Holger Busche, a presenter at the Seventh International Hydrail Conference at the University of Birmingham last July. Dr. Busche is the organizer of Germany's first planned hydrail line, a commuter route from Rinteln to Stadthagen in Northern Germany.
Sep 28, 2012 | Fuel Cell Today
The Hymera portable fuel cell system has been approved for use by Network Rail in powering rail infrastructure maintenance activities across the U.K. rail network. The system was cited as having performance comparable to that petrol-fueled generators, but with the advantages of silent operation and no particulate air emissions.