MOORESVILLE, N.C., March 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year a world conference is held to coordinate work by scientists and engineers on using hydrogen technology to power trams and trains, replacing diesel oil and overhead wires. These International Hydrail Conferences (IHCs) were begun in 2005 by North Carolina's Mooresville South Iredell Chamber of Commerce and the Energy Center at Appalachian State University. This year's 8th International Hydrail Conference will be held in Toronto, Canada. Earlier IHCs have been in the USA, Denmark, Spain, Turkey and the UK. Hydrail research from 17 countries has been presented. Germany—a world leader in transition to the hydrogen economy—will furnish three IHC presenters, including keynote speaker, Detlef Matthiesen, MdL, a Member of the Schleswig-Holstein State Parliament, who is active in environmental innovation. Per Matthiessen, " The vision of zero emission trains depends on the availability of renewable energy sources and the technical possibility to make this clean energy usable for traffic systems. We need alternative energy systems; we need new technology in transport. We must also find answers for the challenges of economy. I am sure that we can find solutions already today and that 8IHC is on the right track." Dr. Holger Busche, who is organizing Germany's first hydrail commuter line, and Andreas Hoffrichter, a doctoral candidate in hydrail technology, will also present. Professor Weirong Chen of Southwest Jiaotong University will describe China's recently introduced hydrail locomotive, developed by the University. Since the 1990s, Canada has been a leader in hydrail concepts and demonstration. Development of the world's first hydrail locomotive—built for mining use—was co-funded by Canada and the USA and tested in Val D'Or, Quebec. Canada's Dr. Alistair Miller—who will present—did the early research that showed railways and maritime applications are the easiest applications of hydrogen to transportation. The Province of Ontario, where the 2013 Hydrail Conference convenes, is home to Hydrogenics Corporation, a hydrogen technology pioneer, whose CEO—Daryl Wilson—will present at the Conference. Manufacturing giant, Bombardier Transportation, is also headquartered in Ontario and will present. BNSF, builder of the first full-size hydrail locomotive, recently announced interest in shifting from diesel oil to natural gas. But countries without natural gas, and those avoiding carbon fuels altogether, are likely to prefer hydrail. The Toronto Hydrail Conference supports that direction.