Start-up Steamology secures contract to develop zero-emission steam locomotive

Posted: 13 June 2024 | | No comments yet

Steamology, a green technology start-up, has partnered with Arup and Eversholt Rail to develop and evaluate green steam technology for zero-emission freight trains.

Start-up Steamology secures contract to develop zero-emission steam locomotive

Credit: Steamology

Steamology, a green technology start-up in West Dean, Hampshire, has announced that it has secured its first commercial contract with Arup and Eversholt Rail to support the evaluation of green steam technology for eliminating freight train emissions.

Electrification and the use of electric heavy-haul freight locomotives are considered the most energy-efficient methods for land transport. However, many parts of the national rail network remain unelectrified. This project aims to provide a complementary solution for zero emissions goods transportation by rail.

Steamology has developed a patented technology to generate high-pressure steam without carbon emissions by burning hydrogen in oxygen inside small modular steam generators. This zero-carbon steam can be produced at a megawatt scale. The New Dawn project will apply this innovation to rail by converting a Class 60 locomotive into a fully powered prototype, representing a return to steam after more than 60 years.

The conversion will replace the diesel engine with 20 steam generators, four steam turbines and 140kg of gas storage, creating a 2MW zero-emission steam locomotive. Conversion work is planned to begin in the UK in 2025. If successful, this technology could be used to modify existing locomotives or be incorporated into new products by locomotive manufacturers.

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Arup is providing consultancy and design services to support the conversion work. Andrew Went, Arup UKIMEA Rail Business and Global High Speed Rail Leader said: “We are delighted and excited to work with Eversholt Rail, Steamology and Freightliner, and to be involved in the application of this cutting edge technology in a manner that will demonstrate a better way forward for heavy-haul freight, which – up to now – has been considered as the most challenging of rail modes to decarbonise.” 

Freightliner is contributing operational expertise to the project. Tim Shoveller, CEO of Freightliner Group, stated, “Rail freight is already a greener option over road cutting carbon emissions by up to 76%. It is great to see the evolution of the efficient turbine technology and its application in supporting the development of more sustainable energy sources for the future railway.”

Paul Sutherland, Client Services Director at Eversholt Rail, said: “We are keen to support UK innovation and our customers in delivering their carbon reduction targets. Eversholt Rail has invested in many rail vehicle innovations and technology upgrades over the last 30 years.  We are delighted to bring this experience and our funding to this project, and we are excited to see where this technology goes.”

Matt Candy, CEO of Steamology, said: “Steamology zero-emission steam, heat and power solutions are operational at full size and full scale and Project New Dawn will demonstrate the viability of repowering diesel engine heavy duty transport assets.”

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