Rail manufacturer Alstom has joined with gases and engineering company Linde to build and operate a hydrogen filling station to support hydrogen trains on the Elbe-Weser network, in the German state of Lower Saxony.
The hydrogen filling station will provide the fuel for the operation of Alstom’s Coradia iLint hydrogen-powered trains, which completed a test phase in February.
While operating passenger services, the trains were able to replace diesel-powered services, and only emit water vapour and condensation.
Completion of the filling station is expected in mid-2021 and 14 hydrogen trains will be utilising the facility by the beginning of 2022.
Once filled at the station, the trains will be able to run for up to 1,000km, meaning they only require one tank filling. The station has room for expansion to produce hydrogen on site through electrolysis and regenerative electricity.
Hydrogen is a key fuel in the decarbonisation of rail where electrification is not possible, facilities such as the filling station will enable emissions-free transport and support Germany’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2050.
“The construction of the hydrogen filling station in Bremervörde will create the basis for the series operation of our emission-free hydrogen trains in the Weser-Elbe network,” said Jörg Nikutta, managing director Germany and Austria of Alstom.
Mathias Kranz, responsible at Linde for the onsite and bulk business in Germany, said the switch to hydrogen would improve environmental outcomes.
“The introduction of hydrogen as a fuel for trains will significantly reduce the burden on the environment, as one kilogram of hydrogen replaces approximately 4.5 litres of diesel fuel.”
According to Andreas Wagner, head of local rail passenger transport and signatory of the Elbe-Weser Railways and Transport Company, the introduction of hydrogen trains has promoted interest in rail from passengers and motivated drivers.
“Our passengers were very curious about the trains and their technology from the very beginning. In addition to the very low noise level, the hydrogen train impresses with its zero emissions, especially in times of climate change. For our train drivers, the operation of iLint was a very special motivation,” he said.