The first mainline testing of a hydrogen-fuelled train in the UK is one of two dozen projects being funded by the Department for Transport’s £7.8m ($9.9m) First of a Kind (FOAK) competition.

The HydroFLEX Project is a groundbreaking partnership between the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education and railway rolling stock company, Porterbrook.

Its aim is to demonstrate how hydrogen could be deployed across the rail network to offer a cleaner alternative to current diesel trains.

A full-scale prototype of the HydroFLEX train will be launched at Rail Live next week (19th/20th June) at Quinton Rail Technology Centre, Warwickshire.

Run by Innovate UK and funded by the DfT to support research, development and innovation in the UK rail industry, the FOAK competition seeks ideas that can be adapted to transform rail travel. Each of the winning schemes will receive between £250,000 ($317,270) and £350,000 ($444,170).

Rail Minister Andrew Jones said, “The FOAK competition has consistently produced truly innovative projects developed for the benefit of passengers, helping to drive forward a greener, cleaner and more efficient rail network.”

“This round has been the biggest yet and I am excited to see how our funding will bring these ambitious ideas to fruition.”

“This government is also investing £48bn ($61bn) to modernise our rail network over the next five years, ensuring people have the safe, frequent and punctual journeys they deserve.”

Alex Burrows, Director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, added, “The partnership between the University of Birmingham and Porterbrook has been a trailblazer for academia and industry accelerating ideas into practical application on the railway.”

“We look forward to the next phase of this project which will take this technology onto the UK railway.”