Home Company News Porterbrook wins with HydroFLEX

Porterbrook wins with HydroFLEX

BusinessGreen’s Transport Project of the Year award has gone to Porterbrook for the UK’s first hydrogen train, HydroFLEX.

The HydroFLEX train ran on the mainline tracks for the first time only a few weeks ago following almost two years’ development work and more than £1million of investment by both Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham.

Hydrogen-powered trains, unlike diesel trains,  do not emit harmful gases, instead using hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, water and heat. The ground-breaking technology behind the trains will also be available by 2023 to retrofit current in-service trains to hydrogen helping decarbonise the rail network and make rail journeys greener and more efficient.

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said: “We are delighted to have won BusinessGreen’s Transport Project of the Year for our pioneering hydrogen train, HydroFLEX. The work we have done with the University of Birmingham has been ground-breaking in terms of zero-emissions transport. At Porterbrook we take our responsibility for de-carbonising the railways very seriously and this award only bolsters our motivation to keep innovating.”

HydroFLEX is able to run in bi-mode operations meaning it can use electric overhead supplies as well as run independently on hydrogen.

The next stages of HydroFLEX are already well underway, as the University of Birmingham develops a hydrogen and battery powered module that can be fitted underneath the train, which will allow for more space for passengers in the train’s carriage.

Nigel Wordsworth BSc(Hons) MCIJhttp://therailengineer.com

SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, mechanical equipment, project reports, executive interviews


Nigel Wordsworth graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, after which he joined the American aerospace and industrial fastener group SPS Technologies. After a short time at the research laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA, Nigel became responsible for applications engineering to industry in the UK and Western Europe. At this time he advised on various engineering projects, from Formula 1 to machine tools, including a particularly problematic area of bogie design for the HST.

A move to the power generation and offshore oil supply sector followed as Nigel became director of Entwistle-Sandiacre, a subsidiary of the Australian-owned group Aurora plc. At the same time, Nigel spent ten years as a Technical Commissioner with the RAC Motor Sports Association, responsible for drafting and enforcing technical regulations for national and international motor racing series.

Joining Rail Engineer in 2008, Nigel’s first assignment was a report on new three-dimensional mobile mapping and surveying equipment, swiftly followed by a look at vegetation control machinery. He continues to write on a variety of topics for most issues.

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