Energy turnaround in transportation – fuel cell electromobility on the rails

Berlin, 10 February 2016 – Only around 50 percent of the German rail network is electrified. That’s why, particularly on secondary lines, services are often provided by diesel railcars. Fuel cell electromobility represents an emission-free and perspectively more energy and cost efficient alternative for rail transport providers.

Supported with funds totalling eight million euros by Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) via the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP), Alstom Transport Deutschland GmbH is currently developing a railcar generation incorporating a fuel cell drive. On the user side, back in 2014 the German states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse signed a letter of intent for the deployment of the new trains with emission free fuel cell-based drives.

Dr. Klaus Bonhoff (NOW): “Electricity-based fuels from renewable energy are the key for sustainable mobility along with the development of a new value-added chain and jobs in Germany. Hydrogen and fuel cells should be deployed in all modes of transport – including rail transportation. We are therefore supporting the market preparation of the technology within the scope of the NIP.”

Supplementing the project activities, the accompanying scientific research, “Hydrogen Infrastructure on Rails”, was commenced in 2015 via the NIP-coordinating National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW). Among the goals of the accompanying research is the examination of technical, legal and economic prerequisites enabling a supply of hydrogen suitable for operation.
With the “Fuel Cell Electromobility in Rail Transportation” symposium on 10.2., the foundation will be laid to place greater focus on this topic among key players from government and industry, on the backdrop of market preparation for mobility with hydrogen.

The event, which is being jointly hosted by the National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW), Alstom Transport Deutschland GmbH and Lower Saxony’s Ministry for Economy, Labour and Transport, will discuss technical issues on both the vehicle and infrastructure side, will look at national and European transport strategy policies, and present the perspectives of various transport service providers.