hydrogen-train

The world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger train is coming to Germany next year. (See photo above) French transit company Alstom has created the Coradia iLint which runs on hydrogen fuel cells. A hydrogen fuel tank stored on the roof powers the fuel cells to produce electrical energy. The train will run on the Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in the northwestern German state of Lower Saxony. Testing and approval by the German Federal Railway Authority will commence soon and is expected to be completed by end of 2017.  There have been prototypes and hybrid trains previously, most notably in Japan.

The US Energy Information Administration reports 31 nations currently have nuclear power programmes, totalling 441 operating reactors. Another 60 reactors are presently under construction in 15 countries. In addition, plans to add another 90 reactors with 76 gigawatts (GW) of capacity have been formally transmitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)  by eight nations. China has 20 reactors under construction and has informed the IAEA of plans to build another 20. China accounted for 18 of the 22 GW added globally between 2009 and 2015. As of last year, global nuclear capacity amounted to 383 GW of electricity generating capacity.

The International Energy Agency said global energy investment in 2015 was down 8% from 2014, with the decreasing coming mainly from the upstream crude oil and natural gas segment. China had the most energy investment largely owing to the record level of electricity sector investment in that country and the decline of US oil and gas investment. The top energy investment countries in 2015 were China with $315 billion, US with $280 billion, European Union with $140 billion, Russia with $85 billion and India with $65 billion.

The World Energy Council reports that almost one-third of the world’s electric power capacity is comprised of renewable energy technologies, accounting for nearly a quarter of its electricity production. Renewables, including hydroelectric power, account for about 30% of the total global installed power generating capacity, and 23% of total electricity production. Last year 76% of renewable investment globally was in new wind and solar power. Combined, wind and solar account for 4% of global electricity production.

According to the World Energy Council, as of last year 164 nations had implemented policies to support the growth of renewable energy. 95 of these were developing countries. China alone accounted for 36% of global renewable energy source investments last year.

According to research and consulting firm GlobalData, the world’s biopower market is set grow from 106 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity in 2015 to 165 GW by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 4.4%. While producing electricity from biomass and biofuels is a niche market in the renewable energy industry, increases in global energy demand and climate change concerns driving the demand for the biopower industry. Large-scale biopower plants are benefiting government support in terms of renewable energy mandates and financial incentives, such as subsidies and production tax credits, along with environmental regulations discouraging the use of fossil fuels for electric power generation.

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