Chinese company unveils 'world's most powerful' hydrogen locomotive

China expects to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
Sejal Sharma
Ningdong - the hydrogen powered locomotive
Ningdong - the hydrogen powered locomotive


China has built what it is calling the world’s most powerful hydrogen-powered locomotive. It is suggested that the clean and renewable technology has the potential to replace most fossil fuel systems used in thousands of trains across the country.

The new engine, converted from a diesel-engine locomotive to run purely on hydrogen-powered fuel cells, can run for up to 190 hours and be refueled in two, reported the South China Morning Post. ​The engine can hold up to 270 kgs of hydrogen, which is considered a clean energy source because when it is burned as a fuel, it produces only water as a byproduct. It does not produce pollutants or greenhouse gasses, like carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide.

The locomotive is called Ningdong and has been manufactured by state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC).

Interesting Engineering had earlier reported that the CRRC had launched in January the world's first urban train powered by hydrogen. The train was produced in a joint effort between the CRRC Changchun Railway Company and Chengdu Rail Transit.

As our atmosphere gets hotter and more turbulent due to the greenhouse effect, vehicle emissions are one of the major cause of global warming.

"As China aims to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, governments at all levels are making efforts to promote the hydrogen energy industry, laying out specific hydrogen development plans to drive the industry," said Chen Weirong, dean of the School of Electrical Engineering at Southwest Jiaotong University, as per a report.

The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic regulator, in association with the National Energy Administration, had unveiled in March 2022 a plan to promote high-quality development of the hydrogen industry.

Under the plan, China will seek to have around 50,000 hydrogen-fueled vehicles and a batch of hydrogen fueling stations by 2025. China aims to produce 100,000 metric tons to 200,000 tons of hydrogen generated from renewable energy sources a year, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1 million tons to 2 million tons a year, said the press release.

The CRRC’s hydrogen technology has the potential to replace over 90% of engines running on fossil fuels, according to the report by SCMP.

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