Polish energy company ORLEN has proudly unveiled the country’s first hydrogen-propelled locomotive, marking a significant stride towards sustainable rail transportation.
ORLEN’s announcement on September 17th showcased its latest achievement: the acquisition of Poland’s inaugural hydrogen-powered shunting locomotive, designed and manufactured by Polish transport company PESA Bydgoszcz. To demonstrate its capabilities, the locomotive embarked on its maiden journey between Gdynia and Hel, leaving a trail of clean, emissions-free transportation in its wake.
The locomotive’s engineering prowess is underscored by its impressive specifications. With a tank capacity of 175 kilograms, it surpasses hydrogen-powered buses by more than fivefold, enabling round-the-clock operation. Its traction system boasts two 85-kilowatt (kW) fuel cells, a battery, and four traction motors, making it a formidable addition to Poland’s rail fleet.
ORLEN’s investment in this groundbreaking technology is part of a broader strategy to harness the potential of hydrogen as a clean energy source. By 2030, the company plans to allocate 7.4 billion zlotys to hydrogen technologies rooted in renewable energy sources and waste-to-hydrogen conversion.
Daniel Obajtek, ORLEN’s CEO and President of the management board, emphasized the importance of this initiative in the context of Poland’s energy future, stating, “We are investing billions of zlotys in cutting-edge hydrogen technologies.”
ORLEN’s commitment to hydrogen extends beyond locomotives. In 2021, the company inaugurated Poland’s first automotive-grade hydrogen production hub, fueling a pilot hydrogen refueling station in Kraków. This station serves as a testing ground for hydrogen-powered buses from various manufacturers.
By mid-2025, ORLEN aims to operate hydrogen refueling stations in multiple Polish cities, including Poznań, Katowice, Bielsko-Biała, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Wałbrzych, Kraków, Włocławek, Gdynia, Piła, and Warsaw. The company’s network of hydrogen refueling stations is set to expand to over 100 within the next seven years, spanning Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
ORLEN’s commitment to hydrogen goes beyond transportation. The company owns specialized hydrogen laboratories in Trzebinia and Włocławek, where comprehensive testing of hydrogen parameters for fuel cells in vehicles is conducted. ORLEN is also a key participant in the Mazovian Hydrogen Valley, established in 2022, and the newly formed Amber Hydrogen Valley in the Province of Gdańsk, involving an international consortium of 11 entities.
In unveiling Poland’s first hydrogen locomotive and spearheading hydrogen infrastructure development, ORLEN is paving the way for a sustainable, green future for rail transportation in Poland and beyond. The locomotive’s inaugural journey signals not just a technological milestone but a transformative leap towards cleaner, more efficient rail travel.