By guest blogger Stan Thompson
It has been too long since I wrote here about hydrail so, to avoid any perception that the issue is coasting down, I’m taking a moment to update the Hydrogen Cars Now readership.
So far from coasting down, hydrail activity has been so intense that I’ve haven’t found time to write since April, 2013. Here’s a very condensed update.
Earlier this year the Centre Railway for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham, UK, graduated UB’s first (and the world’s second) doctorate in the hydrail specialty. Dr. Andreas Hoffrichter, the recipient, first became known to me when he volunteered to present at the Sixth International Hydrail Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Turkish State Railways (TDCC), and Bahçeşehir and Gaziosmanpaşa Universities.
Appalachian State University of Boone, NC, and the Mooresville South Iredell Chamber of Commerce co-organized the event, as usual.
Dr. Hoffrichter was the prime organizer of last year’s 7th International Hydrail Conference at the University of Birmingham. He also presented at this summer’s 8th International Hydrail Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
This June’s Toronto Hydrail Conference was hosted by Ryerson University and others and orchestrated by Robert Stasko, President of Science Concepts International. 8IHC drew more than twice as many conferees as any previous IHC and also attracted the most government officials ever.
One of these, Detlef Matthiessen, MdL, (Member of Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein Parliament) announced that Northern Germany will host the Ninth International Hydrail Conference in Neumünster on 18‑19 June, 2014.
This year for the first time China brought news of that country’s hydrail progress. Dr. CHEN Weirong and Dr. LIU Zhixiang of Southwest Jiaotong University, and Mr. Ed Ping Huang of the Ningbo Ba Te Technology Co. Ltd. (fuel cells) introduced “Blue Sky”—China’s first hydrail locomotive [http://video.sina.com.cn/v/b/95989749-1802531097.html]. Southwest Jiaotong University—China’s first railway engineering school—dates from the late 1800s.
Early this fall, our Chinese hydrail colleagues did me the honor of inviting me to Shanghai to chair the Hydrogen Locomotive panel at the Fifth World Hydrogen Technology Convention (WHTC-2013). There I had the pleasure of introducing both the inventor of hydrogen railway technology, Dr. Arnold R. Miller of Vehicle Projects, Inc., and U. Birmingham’s Professor Kevin Kendall, a Fellow of the Royal Society who was one of the Hydrail Conference keynote presenters last year.
Back in Mooresville NC, the Mooresville Morning Rotary Club where I’m a member took the first steps toward creating a worldwide hydrail education project designed to move society more rapidly toward fuel cell railway implementation. The project will arrange for Hydrail Conference colleagues around the world to serve as program presenters at their local Rotary International clubs.
There’s much more going on than I could begin to mention in one short blog. But if you follow zero-carbon and renewable technologies, Google hydrail+oranjestad to see one of the most exciting developments yet.
Hydrail technology is at last gathering (and emitting) steam around the world. 2014 promises to see that trend accelerate.