The German company Siemens and national rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) are developing a regional train to be powered by hydrogen, Deutsche Welle reported.
At the same time, plans call for expanded production of “green” hydrogen – using water and renewable power sources – as well as a system of fuelling stations. Test runs for the train are to begin in 2024.
The aim of the project is to move towards use of ecologically clean hydrogen-powered trains and phase out diesel locomotives, used in Germany on non-electrified rail lines and responsible for considerable CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
The hydrogen train designed by Siemens is to be based on the company’s Mireo rail model, a new generation of electric trains in use since the summer of 2020. They will replace the Desiro model, known in Russia by the name “Lastochka” (Swallow).
“In Germany, hydrogen trains will be used on regional routes as long-distance routes are completely electrified,” Elmar Zeiler, the Siemens Mobility official responsible for suburban and regional trains, told Deutshe Welle. “This might not be the case in other countries so these trains could be used over long distances. Our Mireo Plus H model can cover 600 km.”
The hydrogen-fuelled train will have a high energy conversion efficiency rate and will be able to operate at up to 160 kph. Innovative technology enables it to be refuelled in 15 minutes – about the same time required to refuel a diesel locomotive.
DB Energie intends to rely on power from renewable sources – using electrolysis to produce hydrogen from ordinary water. Compressed hydrogen will be kept in a gas carrying container, to be used not only for fuelling trains but for other projects.
The world’s first hydrogen-powered train, Coradia iLint, was manufactured by the French company Alstom and began carrying passengers in September 2018 between Bremervörde, Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, and Buxtehude in the northwestern German state of Lower Saxony.
About 13,000 km of track in Germany lack electrification – about 39 % of the network.
Russia has also set itself the goal of creating a reliable hydrogen train by 2024.