Chennai: In a major breakthrough to fight pollution and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Integral Coach Factory (ICF), on Saturday, signed an MoU with SRM Institute of Science and Technology to develop fuel cell based train prototype. According to ICF sources, fuel cells have a higher efficiency than diesel or gas engines. Vehicle operated with hydrogen technology operates silently when compared to internal combustion engines. Fuel cells can eliminate pollution caused by burning fossil fuels and also reduce the emission of greenhouses gases. ICF will manufacture the train and the private institute will provide the energy storage systems (such as fuel cells, batteries, super capacitors, DC/DC converters and control systems up to DC link). Fuel cells do not need conventional fuels and can therefore reduce economic dependence on oil producing nations.
ICF in the recent past is focusing on energy efficient coaches and this is the latest breakthrough. ICF will integrate various sub-systems and take over after DC link.
It is planned that the sub-systems including fuel cells shall be available by December 2018 and the first prototype shall be ready by mid of 2019. It is planned to source H2 (Hydrogen) for prototype from Department of Atomic Energy and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, ICF sources said. This is first-of- its-kind initiative to make use of fuel cell technology in India, perhaps in Asia. As of now, only Alstom (France) has demonstrated the use of fuel cells on a commercial train set.
The first prototype will be made in the form of a Switcher Locomotive having 100 KW limited power. It will be used by ICF for shunting of coaches on a three kilometers track between its Shell and Furnishing Divisions. On successful completion, it is planned to make a commercial fuel cell based train set, a press release from the ICF said. S. Mani, general manager, ICF and senior officials from SRM took part in the event.