Hyundai Rotem’s hydrogen fuel cell tram is not just a futuristic concept but a tangible reality, marking a significant stride towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly transportation system. Embracing the principles of a hydrogen society, this tram utilizes hydrogen, a virtually limitless and clean energy source, to generate electricity through a fuel cell. This process, remarkably, produces only water as a byproduct, making it a beacon of green innovation.
The tram, currently under development, ingeniously combines a hydrogen fuel cell with a battery, forming a hybrid system. The fuel cell generates electricity from hydrogen stored in tanks, while the battery acts as an energy storage system (ESS), capturing secondary power. This dual system allows for efficient energy management, using battery power for high-energy demands like acceleration, and fuel cell power for steady cruising.
Hydrogen fuel cell trams stand out for their zero carbon emissions and air purification capabilities. Unlike traditional electric trams, they don’t just avoid carbon emissions; they actively purify the air by filtering and humidifying the oxygen used in the fuel cell process. This means that as they operate, they can clean the air of fine and ultrafine dust particles, enhancing urban air quality. Hyundai Rotem’s tram, for example, can produce 107.6kg of clean air per hour of operation.
Economically, hydrogen fuel cell trams hold a distinct advantage. They’re more cost-effective than traditional trams due to their self-contained power generation, eliminating the need for extensive infrastructure like power lines. They’re particularly well-suited to urban environments where such construction can be challenging. They also complement ESS trams in mixed-service routes, balancing short and long-distance efficiency.
Hyundai Rotem’s tram, anticipated to cover about 150km per charge, is part of South Korea’s broader push into hydrogen technology. Under the ‘National Research and Development Project for Hydrogen fuel cell tram Demonstration,’ Hyundai Rotem is collaborating with various entities to develop and test these trams. Successful demonstrations, like the recent test in Ulsan, signify a step closer to commercialization. This project is expected to bolster Hyundai Rotem’s position in the global tram market, emphasizing their commitment to environmental sustainability.
In Ulsan, a 10.99-kilometer wireless hydrogen tram line is planned, featuring 15 stations and expected to serve 24,000 passengers daily upon completion in 2029. This project embodies the practical implementation of hydrogen technology in public transportation, showcasing a model for cities worldwide to mitigate air pollution and traffic congestion.
Hyundai Rotem’s endeavor represents not just a technological breakthrough but a crucial pivot towards a cleaner, more sustainable future. The successful integration of hydrogen fuel cell technology in public transport systems like trams could set a precedent for other cities and industries, accelerating the shift to a hydrogen-based society.