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BREAKING: DB Is Making Great Strides in Saying Goodbye to Diesel

BREAKING: DB Is Making Great Strides in Saying Goodbye to Diesel
photo: Deutsche Bahn/DB Is Making Great Strides in Saying Goodbye to Diesel
04 / 01 / 2023

Deutsche Bahn is making faster progress than planned in its move away from diesel: With 17 million litres of the biofuel HVO, DB is already using twice the amount of biofuel in its diesel locomotives in 2023 as originally calculated.

It means the Group will reach its self-imposed volume target for 2025 two years earlier. The main reason for this is the successful conversion of diesel filling stations to HVO. In addition, the positive experiences in operation have strengthened confidence in HVO as a fuel. DB already approved around 1,000 vehicles for refuelling with the climate-friendly biofuel HVO in 2022, and the freight subsidiary DB Cargo has already approved the entire fleet of 800 vehicles for the biofuel. In the next five years, the remaining 2,000 diesel vehicles in DB's existing fleet will follow suit. With the first diesel phase-out measures, DB will save at least 50,000 tonnes of CO₂ by 2025.

Dr Richard Lutz, Chairman of the DB Management Board: "The decision to phase out diesel is a done deal at DB. We are doing everything we can to make the railway even greener. We are investing around 1.5 billion euros in the expansion of new drive systems and fuels by 2027 and are thus coming closer to climate-neutral rail, step by step."

The phasing out of diesel is vital for DB to achieve climate neutrality in 2040, and the Group is pursuing an approach open to all technologies. For existing diesel vehicles, DB relies primarily on alternative fuels, such as the biofuel HVO, produced from biological residues and waste materials. Biofuel causes 90 per cent less CO₂ emissions than diesel, and no additional cultivation areas are used for its production, which competes with food and animal feed production. For new vehicles, DB relies on new forms of propulsion – such as hydrogen and battery technology. These measures complement the classic electrification via overhead lines and electric traction.

First successful hydrogen and battery projects

In the H2goesRail project, the Group is developing a mobile hydrogen filling station with Siemens, as well as the hydrogen train Mireo Plus H. In the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV), the Group has been operating the world's largest hydrogen fleet since December 2022 and is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the trains at its plant in Frankfurt-Griesheim. 

Last year, the first Alstom battery train was successfully tested in passenger service and the experience was gained in operation and maintenance. The development of new innovative energy infrastructure is also a crucial contribution to the phase-out of diesel. When using battery trains, instead of continuous electrification of every track kilometre with the new technology, only the electrification of short sections of track or individual stations is necessary. In Schleswig-Holstein, this technology of the future will be used for the first time from the end of 2023 and will serve as a role model nationwide.

Source: Deutsche Bahn Press Releases

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