HydroFLEX fuel cell on show at National Railway Museum

A hydrogen fuel cell from the original HydroFLEX train has gone on show at the National Railway Museum in York as part of the new Decarbonisation season of the Innovation Platform exhibition.

The fuel cell is one of seven objects that will be on display together until June 2023 showcasing technology that could make Britain’s railways greener and contribute to the rail industry becoming net zero ahead of the UK Government’s target of 2050.

Cassi Roberts, Exhibition Project Manager at the National Railway Museum, said: “Decarbonisation is such an important word in our world right now and we are delighted that we can showcase seven objects at the National Railway Museum that could help our railways become greener and more sustainable.

“Visitors will have the chance to learn a little more about how these objects work and the benefits they bring in comparison to alternative materials currently being used in the rail industry that may be higher in carbon or more energy intensive.”

Porterbrook unveiled the first HydroFLEX in 2019, in partnership with the University of Birmingham with support from the British government via InnovateUK. The Ballard hydrogen fuel cell that features in the Innovation Platform exhibition was part of that train.

At the end of 2020 work started on the next version of HydroFLEX at Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre. The new train was then presented at the UN climate conference COP26 in Scotland to demonstrate hydrogen fuel cell technology to representatives from around the world

Up to 277kg of hydrogen fuel is safely contained in 36 high pressure tanks. Inside the fuel cells, a chemical process converts the hydrogen and oxygen from the air to generate clean electricity. The only waste product is pure water.

You can learn more about the National Railway Musuem's Innovation Platform exhibition here.