Siemens and Deutsche Bahn plan trial of hydrogen-powered train in Germany

The Deutsche Bahn AG brand photographed on the Bahntower, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

Christoph Soeder | image alliance | Getty Images

Siemens Mobility and Deutsche Bahn have laid out plans to develop and trial a hydrogen fuel-cell train, in the most recent instance of main corporations turning to a expertise which may have a major impact on the environmental footprint of transportation programs.

According to a joint announcement issued earlier this week, the trial is slated to begin in 2024 and will see a train journey between Tübingen, Horb and Pforzheim in the southwest German state of Baden-Württemberg.

The prototype train, often called Mireo Plus H, will use a fuel-cell and lithium ion battery. Made up of two carriages, its vary will lengthen to as a lot as 600 kilometers, or a little bit underneath 373 miles. It will boast a high velocity of 160 kilometers per hour.

When the year-long pilot will get underway, the hydrogen train will take the place of a diesel one. It’s hoped the trial will save roughly 330 tons of carbon dioxide.

The collaboration may even look to work on the related infrastructure the train will want.

To this finish, Deutsche Bahn is to partially refit one of its upkeep retailers to service the train and may even develop a fueling station for the automobile.

Using electrolysis, water can be break up into oxygen and hydrogen, with the latter compressed then saved in a cellular unit. The electrical energy used in this course of will come from renewable sources.

Support for the initiative is coming from the state authorities of Baden-Württemberg. Funding is because of come from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

At the second, Deutsche Bahn has roughly 1,300 diesel-powered trains getting used on regional routes. In addition, round 40% of its sprawling 33,000 kilometer community shouldn’t be but electrified.

“Especially on non-electrified routes, hydrogen fuel cell propulsion can become a climate-friendly alternative to diesel propulsion,” Winfried Hermann, who’s Baden-Württemberg’s minister of transport, mentioned in a press release Monday. “Whether powered by overhead line electricity or hydrogen – the decisive factor is that the energy comes from renewable sources,” he added.

One of many initiatives

The partnership between Siemens Mobility and Deutsche Bahn comes at a time when a quantity of initiatives targeted on hydrogen-powered transport are taking form.

Firms equivalent to Alstom have additionally developed trains which use hydrogen fuel-cells, whereas different examples embody plane, buses and vehicles.

In feedback despatched to CNBC by way of e-mail a spokesperson for Transport & Environment, a marketing campaign group targeted on clear transport, emphasised the necessity to guarantee hydrogen was used in a combination of transport choices.

“Rail in Europe is already largely electrified, so it is not where the big environmental gains are to be made,” they mentioned.

“We need hydrogen in transport where batteries aren’t possible,” they added. “First and foremost, that means shipping and aviation. For long-haul trucks, the race is wide open.”

The spokesperson went on to state: “The biggest obstacle facing us is making sure that hydrogen is made from clean electricity. Producing hydrogen from fossil gas is not clean. We need to make sure it’s based on additional, renewable electricity.”

Interest in inexperienced hydrogen — a time period used to discuss with hydrogen that is produced utilizing renewable sources equivalent to wind and photo voltaic — has began to extend in current years. 

A quantity of main gamers equivalent to Orsted and BP are undertaking initiatives wanting on the sector, whereas the European Union has laid out plans to put in 40 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and produce as a lot as 10 million metric tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030.

To put the EU’s objectives into context, the International Energy Agency says international hydrogen manufacturing at the moment quantities to roughly 70 million metric tons per yr.



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