BMAC Ltd is one of almost 30 UK based businesses that have worked together to deliver Britain’s first hydrogen-powered train which will be showcased by Porterbrook, in partnership with Network Rail, at November’s UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.
Porterbrook has invested £7m in the HydroFLEX, which will demonstrate how green-hydrogen and innovative-engineering can accelerate delivery of environmental benefits to passengers and the communities the railway serves.
The build and delivery of HydroFLEX has been supported by the University of Birmingham and a range of businesses, many new to rail, which has successfully created the UK’s first hydrogen-rail supply chain.
BMAC Ltd has been proud to work with Porterbrook as part of the supply chain team that has delivered HydroFLEX within less than a year.
As part of the project, BMAC Ltd supplied LED headlight modules which include fully compliant TSI LOC & PAS LED headlight and combined LED Tail / Marker light equipment. The modules are designed to be mechanically fully interchangeable with the existing units, the solution provides considerable reduction in power consumption and a significant improvement in reliability compared to the technology installed on the original vehicle. The design of the equipment is a natural choice for many vehicle enhancements of this type. The installation of this solution allows the vehicle to operate in service with many of the new build vehicles that also share this technology, creating a safer network.
This cross-industry collaboration will see the ground-breaking HydroFLEX make its first passenger journeys at COP26, to showcase the possibility of leading British green technology on the world stage.
The HydroFLEX train at COP26 includes an ‘on-board boardroom’, giving invited special guests the chance to use the train to support the globally significant discussions that will take place in and around the COP.
BMAC Ltd was critical in providing the exterior cab lighting for the train.
David Myers, Head of Sales at BMAC Ltd said:
“We are honoured to be able to contribute to this hugely important project which will fundamentally change the way rail travel works in the UK, creating a greener world for the next generation of rail users.”
Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said:
“We are incredibly proud to work alongside some truly great British businesses, whose skills and expertise have helped us take HydroFLEX to COP26. This reflects a high level of collaboration across the private sector which in turn has been supported by our Network Rail and University of Birmingham partners. Seeing HydroFLEX in action in Glasgow will be a true milestone moment as we accelerate the rail industry’s journey towards Net Zero.”
About BMAC Ltd
- Established in 1927, BMAC, part of Grakon group, a subsidiary of global leaders Methode Electronics Inc, designs and manufactures lighting and electronic control systems in its manufacturing facility, located close to Manchester in North West England.
- For over 90 years BMAC has been developing and pushing the boundaries in vehicle lighting technology and is now one of the leading UK based manufacturers of exterior lighting and associated electrical equipment for both the road and rail sectors.
- The acquisition of Grakon by Methode Electronics Inc, a global developer of customer engineered, and application-specific products and solutions has further strengthened BMAC’s market offering. The combined knowledge and expertise will accelerate BMAC’s position as a global solutions provider of advanced lighting systems and electronic controls for premier vehicle OEMs.
- Porterbrook owns almost a quarter of the national passenger rail fleet and currently has around 4,000 vehicles on lease or on order. To date, Porterbrook has invested £3bn in new passenger and freight vehicles and are actively looking to invest a further £1bn in UK rail in the coming years.
- Porterbrook has an established reputation for delivering new technologies, such as battery, hybrid and hydrogen powered trains. These innovations support the government’s commitment to Net Zero by 2050 ambitions, improve air quality, reduce emissions, and enhance network resilience.
- In 2020 Porterbrook introduced HydroFLEX, the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train, in partnership with the University of Birmingham. A fully productionised version of this innovative train will be showcased at Glasgow in November during COP26.
- In collaboration with industry partners, Porterbrook also project manage the delivery of regular upgrades to their rolling stock fleets. Each year Porterbrook invest over £150m in our existing assets, supporting nearly 100 UK-based companies and supporting c.7,000 jobs.
- HydroFLEX is the world’s first train retrofitted to operate under hydrogen power and the first hydrogen-powered train on Britain’s railway. It is capable of drawing power from overhead wires and where these don’t exist, operating in self-powered mode using hydrogen, fuel cells and batteries.
- HydroFLEX is the result of a ground-breaking collaboration between Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham.
- HydroFLEX represents a £7m private sector investment by Porterbrook in a zero-emission alternative to diesel powered trains.
- By retaining the capability of using overhead wires as a power source, HydroFLEX can extend the electrified railway to non-electrified routes but without the need for costly and disruptive infrastructure upgrades.