Today, Federal Minister Dr. Volker Wissing handed over funding decisions with a volume of around 81.6 million euros for the public transport system in the districts of Düren and Euskirchen. Both road and rail public transport are to be successively converted to climate-neutral drive systems. To achieve this, 17 fuel cell trains, a hydrogen train refuelling station and an electrolyser for the production of green hydrogen as well as a hydrogen refuelling station for buses with an additional electrolysis plant will be acquired.

Dr. Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital and Transport:
“It is our goal is to further intensify the momentum towards climate neutrality in the transport sector. With our funding, we are supporting the market ramp-up of innovative drive technologies. We provide technology-neutral funding because we are convinced that we must keep all options open in order to achieve our climate goals. We need hydrogen-based buses and trains where we reach the limits of electrification. Here in the Rhineland, 17 hydrogen trains and the infrastructure needed for green hydrogen, as well as a hydrogen refuelling station with an electrolysis plant for buses, are being acquired with our support. The region demonstrates how we envision an optimal, local value chain – from the generation over the distribution to the use of hydrogen. The Cologne regional transport authority (Regionalverkehr Köln) and the district of Düren are sending a clear signal: they stand for real progress on rail and road and will continue to set the course towards more environmentally friendly bus and rail transport.”

Funding recipients include the go.Rheinland special purpose association for the procurement of 17 fuel cell trains and the Beteiligungsgesellschaft Kreis Düren mbH as well as HyDN GmbH for the establishment of a regional hydrogen infrastructure with a refuelling facility and green hydrogen production via electrolysis. In addition, Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH received a funding decision for the construction of a public hydrogen refuelling station for buses, as well as an electrolyser for the production of green hydrogen in Mechernich in the district of Euskirchen. The Minister was able to see the project for himself during a test drive in a fuel cell train from Düren to Euskirchen.

Of the 81.6 million euros, a total of 66.8 million euros will be made available to the go.Rheinland special purpose association in cooperation with the districts of Düren, Euskirchen and Heinsberg, the Beteiligungsgesellschaft Kreis Düren mbH and the Regionalverkehr Köln Gesellschaft mbH through the Coal Regions Investment Act (InvKG – Investitionsgesetz Kohleregionen). Added to this is 14.8 million euros from funds of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP) for HyDN GmbH to set up the electrolyser for the production of green hydrogen for rail transport.

The go.Rheinland special purpose association would like to gradually implement the operation of fuel cell trains in the “Düren network” on the three lines (RB 21 North – northern branch of the Rurtalbahn, the RB 21 South – southern branch of the Rurtalbahn, and the RB 28 – Eifel-Bördebahn) from 2026. The RB 28 is a reactivated line and has been in full operation since January 2023. The project demonstrates the suitability of alternative drive systems in rail transport – especially in rural areas or on formerly disused lines where electrification by overhead line is not economically feasible.

Source of original content: BMDV
Image source: go.Rheinland