Hydrogen train tests are under way in Saudi Arabia as the country looks to adopt more sustainable transport systems.
Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) announced the news following the signing of a deal with French train firm Alstom, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Sunday.
It will conduct operational tests and studies necessary to prepare this type of train to fit the kingdom's environment, in preparation for its future entry into service.
“The step is part of plans to move to a more sustainable transport system that adopts the latest smart technologies,” said Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabian Minister of Transportation and Logistics and chairman of the SAR board of directors.
“SAR is committed to its leading role in achieving the Saudi Green Initiative, stemming from the Saudi Vision 2030, which stipulates increasing the kingdom's reliance on clean energy, reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment.”
Hydrogen, which can be produced from renewable energy and natural gas, is widely tipped to become a critical fuel in future years as economies and industries transition to a low-carbon world.
It comes in several forms, including blue, green and grey. Blue and grey hydrogen are produced from natural gas while green hydrogen is created from splitting water molecules through electrolysis.
Dr. Bashar Al-Malik, SAR chief executive stressed his company's commitment to implementing initiatives that align with the National Transport and Logistics Strategy.
“The hydrogen train is one of the most important innovations in sustainable transport as the energy needed for the operation and movement of such trains is generated without emitting carbon,” said Dr Al-Malik.
“Their range of benefits make them an attractive choice in the drive for sustainable energy, and that they have a positive impact on the environment, economy and the future of coming generations.”