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Schleswig-Holstein, Germany: Big-Picture Hydrail

by guest blogger Stan Thompson

21 June, 2016:  Today, Eva Grey, writing in Railway-Technology.com, described the quintessential model indicating where hydrail (hydrogen fuel cell railway) technology is headed. In her story, “German state thrusts hydrogen-powered hydrail into the spotlight,” Ms. Grey breaks the story of plans by the State of Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany to convert its railway network entirely to zero-carbon, renewably-sourced hydrail by 2025.

The Schleswig-Holstein hydrail vision will be discussed in depth at the Eleventh International Hydrail Conference at the University of Birmingham, UK, on  4 and 5  July, 2016. The presenter will be Ms. Grey’s primary hydrail article source, Dr. Holger Busch—an advising resource for the Green Party in the Schleswig-Holstein Parliament, where Herr Detlef Matthiessen—Founder of Germany’s Alliance ’90, the Green Parliamentary Group—is Speaker for Energy Policy and Technology Innovation. Herr Matthiessen and Dr. Busche were the hosts/organizers of the 9th International Hydrail Conference in Neumünster, Schleswig-Holstein, in 2014.

What’s unique in Schleswig-Holstein’s bold approach is not just its scope but the clarity of its understanding that the State’s vast wind turbine resource and its rail network are two elements of an integrated renewable energy creation-energy storage-and transportation system. Dr. Busche was the first person in the world to identify this concept and propose its deployment back in 1998.

What’s most important about the Schleswig-Holstein Model is its scalability.  In time, it can be expanded to all of Germany and, eventually, all of Europe.  Schleswig-Holstein borders Denmark and the world’s first  international hydrail line is part of the S-H Model.

The Schleswig-Holstein Model has been suggested to China as a national deployment paradigm for their recently introduced CRRC Qingdao Sifang and Tanshan Railway Vehicle Company Ltd. hydrail trams. A similar unannounced urban version is under consideration in Canada.

About Stan Thompson

For 33 years I worked as an engineer, planner and futurist for what is now AT&T in Charlotte and Atlanta. Though I have no engineering degree, I'm a Life Member of the IEEE. Other memberships are the World Affairs Council, the local chapter of the National Association of Business Economics and the American Institute of Archaeology. (I dig international business, so to speak.)

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