Arcola Energy and project partners present first showcase of the Scottish Zero-Emissions Train Project as part of a hydrogen-powered transport hub

BO'NESS, SCOTLAND, November 4, 2021: The Scottish Hydrogen Train Project – funded by Transport Scotland, supported by Scottish Enterprise and managed under the University of St Andrews/Hydrogen Accelerator initiative – launched the first in a series of demonstration events on Nov. 4, 2021, during the COP26 Climate Conference ahead of dynamic testing next spring on the Bo’ness Railway.

Delivering Scotland’s first hydrogen-powered train as part of the country’s strategy to decarbonise the rail network, the project is led by fuel cell integration specialist Arcola Energy – providing full system design and integration based on the company’s proven A-Drive powertrain platform.

The project is supported by rail engineering and safety experts Arup and Abbott Risk Consulting to form an integrated delivery team, with AEGIS providing regulatory third-party verification. Angel Trains has provided additional investment into a green hydrogen refuelling installation which will support the upcoming stages of the project’s roadmap to network deployment.

“The Scottish Hydrogen Train Project is a best-practise example of a partnership between Government, industry and academia in a live rail environment to demonstrate the requirements and opportunities offered by the introduction of hydrogen trains,” said Dr Ben Todd, CEO, Arcola Energy. “We are delighted to work with our partners on the project’s overarching objectives of driving local supply chain opportunities, skills development and job creation.”

At the core of the project is the conversion and upcycling of a retired Class 314 electric multiple unit to a newly classified Class 614 hydrogen-powered train. Arcola’s powertrain platform incorporates an efficient electric powertrain with the high energy density of hydrogen to deliver twice the practical range of battery-only solutions. The production of green hydrogen means that the train runs entirely on locally sourced renewable energy.

The conversion is also intended to show the potential of re-powering existing rolling stock to deliver a sustainable zero-emission solution to decarbonise Scotland’s geographically diverse network, connecting communities and contributing to a green economic recovery.

Graeme Dey, Minister for Transport said: “I am pleased that the Scottish Government is making a tangible contribution to the development of practical solutions to reduce and adapt to the effects of climate change.  Partnerships like this involving industry, government and academia are key to meeting this existential challenge.

“This project shows how we can apply new cleaner, greener technology within transport and through its re-purposing of an old electric train, demonstrate the potential application of our aspiration for a circular economy. The supply chain development to support this project also demonstrates that we have the resources, expertise and commitment to deliver a zero emission transport solution here in Scotland.” 

The Scottish Hydrogen Train Project will be presented as a part of a hydrogen-powered transport hub centred around a green hydrogen refuelling installation. The showcase will also include the first presentation of Arcola Energy’s hydrogen refuse collection vehicle – a collaboration with Glasgow City Council funded by Transport Scotland – ahead of fleet deployment in 2022; and a bus project that will be developed in partnership with the Hydrogen Accelerator at the University of St Andrews which demonstrates the potential of a green hydrogen economy and transport ecosystem in Scotland.

Professor John Irvine, The University of St Andrews said: “We are strongly supportive of the Scottish Hydrogen Train vision that seeks to decarbonise where electrification is difficult. We are also delighted to be demonstrating the Scottish Hydrogen Zero Emission Train project. It is a great example of the collaboration we aim to continue to foster bringing together academia, government and commercial organisations to scale-up the deployment of zero carbon and zero emission technologies that are imperative in supporting the development of a green transport ecosystem in Scotland.  We have the expertise and the will to make it happen.”

Following the first presentation of the Scottish Hydrogen Train Project during COP26, the train will enter a series of demonstrations – including live running at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway in March and testing with industry partners at Arcola’s facility in Dundee, which form part of the project’s roadmap to deployment.

Arcola and the project partners have engaged with Scottish suppliers and various academic and skills development organisations. Arcola has also started work on a manufacturing facility at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc in Dundee which will recruit up to 135 people over a three-year period, established rail engineering operations at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway employing 10 people and a new service centre in Glasgow which will employ up to seven technicians.

About Arcola Energy

Arcola Energy is a leader in hydrogen and fuel cell integration, specialising in zero-emission solutions for heavy-duty vehicles and transport applications. As a systems engineering specialist and Tier 1 integrator, Arcola addresses the deployment gap between rapidly evolving low-carbon technologies and efficient real-world applications by developing market-ready solutions, reducing development cost and time-to-market. 

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