A hydrogen train, also known as hydrail, is a type of train that utilizes hydrogen as a source of energy. In a hydrogen train, hydrogen can be utilized to power the electric traction motors or to power other electronic and electrical components and devices of the train, or to run both. In a hydrogen train, the chemical energy of hydrogen is converted into mechanical energy either by combustion in an engine, or by chemical reaction with oxygen in a fuel cell.
Fuel powered vehicles are a prominent source of pollution across the globe. Increase in global temperature attributed to rising pollution levels is prompting governments and regulatory bodies to initiate corrective actions. Consequently, alternative fuel powered vehicles, such as electric vehicles and hydrogen powered vehicles, are gaining traction across the globe. This, in turn, is estimated to boost the demand for hydrogen trains. Moreover, trains are a considerably cost and fuel efficient source of transportation, which in turn is fueling the demand for trains.
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Governments of several nations are focusing on the incorporating emission-free and efficient modes of transportation, in order to meet the Paris Agreement, signed by 195 countries, in 2016. The Paris Agreement is aimed at reducing global emission levels and restrict the rise in global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius, in the near future. The efforts initiated at the international level and raised awareness among people are likely to fuel the demand for hydrogen trains. Hydrogen trains eliminate the necessity of expensive overhead electric cables, which in turn reduces overall construction cost, which in turn is likely to boost the global hydrogen trains market.
Several countries across the globe have a significant number of diesel powered vehicles and are incorporating electric vehicles in order to curb emission occurring through diesel powered trains. Electric trains require a significant cost for construction of overhead electric rail, which is not required in hydrogen powered trains. Therefore, demand for hydrogen trains is likely to rise during the forecast period. However, significantly higher cost, as compared to that of a conventional train, is major restraint of the global hydrogen trains market.
The global hydrogen trains market can be segmented based on train type, grade of automation, application, and region. In terms of train type, the global hydrogen trains market can be segregated into five segments. The first hydrogen powered trains began operations in Germany. These are suburban trains and have been developed by Alstom S.A.
In terms of grade of automation, the global hydrogen trains market can be classified into five segments. Higher the grade of automation, higher is the safety and the cost. The grade of automation level 1 and 2 is gaining traction across the globe, which is attributed to their moderate cost and increased level of safety and performance. Based on application, the global hydrogen trains market can be bifurcated into passenger trains and freight trains. Hydrogen powered engines are incorporated for passenger trains; hence, the passenger trains segment is projected to hold a major share of the market, in terms of revenue, by the end of 2022. However, the advantages offered by hydrogen trains are likely to prompt their adoption for freight transportation applications.
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In terms of region, the global hydrogen trains market can be segmented into five regions. The Government of the U.K. has signed a deal with hydrogen train manufacturer Alstom S.A., which comprises replacement of 100 diesel engine vehicles with hydrogen trains, by 2022. The first hydrogen powered train began operations in Germany, in 2018. Europe has a considerable number of diesel powered locomotives. Government of several nations across Europe are likely to eliminate the diesel powered trains in order to curb pollution. Consequently, the same governing bodies are likely to prefer for hydrogen powered vehicles instead of electric trains that have a higher cost of construction due to overhead electric cables.
Alstom S.A. is a key player operating in the global hydrogen trains market. Several other prominent players who provide technologies and components for hydrogen trains are Thales Group, Ansaldo STS, Mitsubishi Electric, Bombardier Transportation, Hitachi Ltd., and CRRC Corporation limited. The projected adoption of hydrogen trains is likely to prompt the integration of the key players mentioned above into the global hydrogen trains market
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