In regional traffic in particular, the German railway network is not yet fully operational. Until now, mostly diesel locomotives were used here. From the point of view of environmental and climate protection, this is not ideal. The situation is somewhat different on the Cuxhaven-Buxtehude railway in Lower Saxony, where 14 hydrogen trains have replaced conventional diesel locomotives. However, the droppers used here called Coradia iLint come from French manufacturer Alstom. This seems to be at the forefront of the game when it comes to using fuel cells. The German competitor Siemens introduced the Mireo Plus H. This is a kind of hybrid solution. Because the train also mainly runs on hydrogen. It also has lithium-ion batteries for emergencies. The train will be tested under real conditions in Baden-Württemberg next year.
The refueling process takes only about fifteen minutes
However, Siemens has already managed to gain a commercial client. Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn ordered a total of seven German-made hydrogen trains. These will be used from 2024 in the so-called Heidekrautbahn in the greater Berlin-Brandenburg region. The partners have already announced the first major data. Maximum speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour are possible. Acceleration turn 1.1 meters per second. Range up to 1000 km. Instead, it takes only fifteen minutes to recharge the train. Siemens has also pledged to ensure that the trains will run for at least ten years and also perform maintenance. Since this is also a completely new product, further joint development of the technology is also considered. Experience gained in practice should lead to improvements as quickly as possible.
1.1 million liters of diesel is saved annually
The purchase is being funded, among other things, as part of a pilot project funded by the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg. The goal is to establish a regional and sustainable hydrogen economy. Thus, the use of trains by project partners is not only evaluated, but also scientifically monitored. In addition, only green hydrogen will be used, so that future train journeys will not cause any climate emissions, at least locally. In general, the people concerned assume that 1.1 million liters of diesel per year can be saved in the future. This corresponds to a reduction in CO2 emissions of three million kilograms. From the point of view of environmental and climate protection, hydrogen trains represent significant progress, however, it remains to be seen whether their use is also economically beneficial. In principle, however, the following applies: the more often the corresponding solutions are implemented, the cheaper they become in the end.