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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Hydrail, steam locomotive - in a way

Hydrogen technology may be years from realization but in Europe, Japan and deep in a mine shaft in Ontario it already has enthusiastic proponents who can attest to this clean fuel alternative’s success.

Digital concept: Greener Magazine
Because indoor or underground locations prohibit the use of standard combustion energy sources such as diesel, to get the job done, business and emergency applications have turned to battery energy in mining and where ever access to fuel supplies are limited. Chemical batteries have improved over the decades to the point that they are both reliable and safe and yet batteries present other problems. However powerful, chemical batteries are limited and a potential hazard to both workers and the environment.

Hydrogen technology derives its energy by converting simple water to its basic components, hydrogen and oxygen and then recombining the hydrogen and oxygen, pure water is the only byproduct. The temporarily free hydrogen electrons pass through a circuit and produce electricity. Multiplying these cells as they are called in stacks can produce a virtually unlimited source of clean, renewable power.

The military is interested in hydrogen technology and in 2003 initiated a seven year joint venture with the U.S. Department of Energy, the government of Japan, and the National Automotive Center to produce a 1.2 megawatt power plant for a locomotive. The cells are being developed by Nuvera Fuel Cells Inc., Cambridge, Mass. The army plans to develop peace time applications for this new technology including emergency generators driven by locomotives capable of supplying power to a hospital or even a small town in the event of a disaster such as Katrina.

In Italy as well as Japan, development of commuter rail line capability powered by hydrogen is on track; in Bergamo, Italy at Nuvera’s research facility and in Tokyo at the Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI) where they are developing a two-car locomotive - one carrying electric motors, a transformer, and a battery charged by regenerative braking, and the other, fuel-cell stacks and a hydrogen storage cylinder. The train’s top speed will be 120 kilometers per hour, and it will travel 300 to 400 km before its hydrogen needs replenishing.

Nuvera’s Forza™ Rail Power plant will be showcased this summer at the 3rd annual International Hydrail Conference at the Centro Congressi Giovanni XXIII in Bergamo, Italy on June 25-26, 2007. Conference attendees will be able to interact with other leaders in the alternative energy and railway fields, learn about the latest technological advancements in hydrail, hear the most recent developments in hydrail installations from around the globe and see an actual fuel cell for hydrail applications in action!

Expected Speakers:

Stan Thompson, Hydrogen Economy Advancement Team
Prashant Chintawar, Nuvera Fuel Cells
Tarun Huria, Indian Railways’ Institute of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering
Tom Mack, Ahl Tech
Seky Chang, Korea Railroad Research Institute
Maria Marsilla, Vossloh Espana
Peter Holt, Hydrogen Highway, Vancouver
Jurgen Schulte, ISE Corporation
Carlos Navas, NTDA Energia

To register or for more information on the conference, log on to www.hydrail.com or contact Danielle Andre at Nuvera Fuel Cells.

Danielle Andre
Marketing Communications Coordinator
Nuvera Fuel Cells
Tel: +1-617-245-7571
Fax: +1-617-245-7511
Email: DAndre@nuvera.com

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