Trams and light rail are to be replaced by an environmentally friendly train powered by biomethane. It could be used on the routes where electrification is not worthwhile.

Electricity will be the energy of the future, which is a problem for rail transport. Smaller and little-used routes would have to be electrified. Your deficit would increase. Ultra Light Rail Partners engineers want to replace smelly diesel railcars. In the future, they are to be operated with organic waste and faeces, to be precise with biomethane. A railcar combines drive and passenger space in one unit, strictly speaking it is not a train in which a locomotive moves the coupled passenger cars without its own drive.

Biogas as fuel

The technology is not new. Already in the films of the “Mad Max” series, electricity in Bartertown was generated from pig manure. Biomethane is a biofuel that can be derived from a variety of waste products, including sewage sludge, agricultural crop residues, animal manure and food waste. All of these substances are broken down by bacteria, which produce a gas that is in turn used as a cleaner alternative fuel.

The technology is far less complex than driving with a hydrogen cell. The biggest advantage, however, is that the fuel is produced from waste that would otherwise have to be disposed of. Human faeces have not been used as fertilizer for a long time. Raw materials that are harmful to health can also be used for biogas plants because the gas produced is always free of pollutants and is also not reintroduced into the food cycle.

During combustion, CO2 is released, but that would also have happened if the raw materials had been naturally degraded. The British government is funding the development of the sustainable railcar, which will carry up to 120 passengers. In addition to the new drive, the car should be lighter, which in turn helps to save fuel. The railcars in service are often based on very old designs that are very solid and little consideration was given to consumption during their development.

Covid-safe ventilation

Beverley Nielsen, President of Ultra Light Rail Partners, said: “This is a vote of confidence in our company which is focused on providing easy, affordable rail travel as a comfortable, modern, reliable and safe alternative to the car.”

“We want to be able to offer this option to larger and smaller cities across the UK so they can remove polluting vehicles from their city and town centers to improve the quality of life for everyone.”

The development also draws on the experience of the corona pandemic. The car is given an ultraviolet light shower to kill viruses, and special ventilation is designed to minimize the risk of contamination.

Quelle: Ultra Light Rail Partner

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