Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking with Stan Thompson, Chairman of the Hydrogen Economy Advancement Team (HEAT), who just got back from Istanbul, Turkey where the 6th Annual Hydrail Conference had occurred on this past July 1 & 2.
As I’ve talked about many times before Hydrail means hydrogen trains (hydrogen rail or hydrail) and is picking up steam as one of the first transportation early adopters of H2 technology.
Mr. Thompson told me the Turkish people are very enthusiastic about the potential for hydrail in their country to help cut down on emission and provide a powerful alternative to traditional trains.
According to Mr. Thompson, “Per Herbert Wankura (one of this year’s hydrail speakers whose company, NTDA Energîa, sponsored the 2008 Hydrail Conference in Valencia, Spain), Türkiye stands an excellent chance of leading the world into the hydrail age through its manufacturing and economic might. Türkiye has the second fastest‑growing economy among the G-20 nations (trailing only China) and the country has important US ties in locomotive manufacturing.”
One disappointment of the conference however is that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was in Istanbul, Turkey, talking high speed rail with Turkish National Railways at the same time as the Hydrail conference, but a meeting was not in the making.
Mr. Thompson is hopeful in regard to getting the Federal government to take notice, however. Mr. Thompson states, “Getting hydrail on President Obama’s radar screen has long been a top priority for hydrail proponents. With the Gulf of Mexico blow-out so prominent in the news, a chance to help wean railroads off of oil would be timely.”
In separate European news, a couple of weeks back I came across a news bulletin out of Spain, and Mr. Thompson was able to verify its authenticity. The gist of the article is that a hydrogen fuel cell tram is to be trialed later this year between the cities of Ribadesella and Llovio.
The tram will use a fuel cell developed by Cidaut and four traction motors for propulsion. So, word of hydrail is spreading across Europe, Japan (and other Asian countries) and the U. S. It’s only a matter of time until diesel is a thing of the past and hydrogen goes mainstream across the railways of the world.