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Siemens and DB are collaborating on the development of a hydrogen train

Siemens and DB are collaborating on the development of a hydrogen train
photo: train
27 / 11 / 2020

Siemens Mobility and Deutsche Bahn (DB) have entered into a partnership to develop and test a regional hydrogen train. Together, they also want to build a filling station at the DB Cargo plant in Tübingen.

Climate friendliness of transportation is a very important issue for both companies. Therefore, for the first time in history, they are jointly testing the use of hydrogen propulsion on railways. This project includes both the development of the train driven by a hydrogen propulsion as such and a complete infrastructure system needed for its wide deployment and day-to-day use. In the future, this train should replace the existing diesel trains running on regional lines. A hydrogen-powered train would run on these non-electrified lines instead. This would make a significant contribution to CO2 emissions reduction.

DB and Siemens are planning annual testing of this regional train in the vicinity of Tübingen, where DB Cargo has its premises. The hydrogen train should run on the route between Tübingen, Horb and Pforzheim. According to the timetable, the existing regional diesel train should be replaced in 2024.

Siemens Mobility is to develop a prototype of a regional hydrogen train as part of the project. This should be based on the technical parameters of the Mireo Plus train. For the time being, the innovative train set should have two cars that will draw energy from hydrogen propulsion, which will consist of a fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery.

The prototype will be called the Mireo Plus H and will have the same performance as the electric Mireo Plus. The Mireo Plus H will cover approximately 600 kilometers on a single charge. As soon as the three-car combination is in operation, the range will increase to 1000 km. The train should reach a maximum speed of 160 km / hour and will have a traction force of 1.7 MW. The train will be able to reach accelerations of up to 1.1 m / s2.

As part of the project, DB is to build a new type of filling station for this innovative hydrogen train. The train should be fully refueled within 15 minutes. Hydrogen will be produced directly at the DB site in Tübingen with use of traction electricity from renewable sources.

Thanks to the operation of a hydrogen train on the above-mentioned route, 330 tons of CO2 should be saved annually. For DB, such an opportunity to save also on other trains would mean a fundamental change. DB currently operates about 1,300 diesel-powered trains in regional transport and 40 % of DB lines are not electrified. As a result, in addition to electrification, the train's hydrogen propulsion is a great tool for DB to achieve significant emission reductions. DB would thus take a big step towards making the company climate neutral.

This project will be funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The funding project is officially called "H2goesRail". BMVI will use the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP 2) to finance the project. It is coordinated by the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Organization (NOW) GmbH and is implemented by the Jülich project management organization.

Germany is a big pioneer in the alternative propulsion of railway vehicles. In addition to train construction and infrastructure, some companies are also focused on the production of hydrogen cells. Such is the case with company Cummins, a leading manufacturer of heavy-duty diesel engines. However, in line with new trends, it is launching a new production facility for the supply of hydrogen cells for the propulsion of hydrogen trains. The new factory is located in the town of Herten in the Ruhr region.