Siemens and DB test hydrogen train and mobile fueling station

The maiden journey in the Mireo Plus H hydrogen train was taken by Dr. Roland Busch, CEO of Siemens AG, Dr. Richard Lutz, CEO of Deutsche Bahn, and Hartmut Höppner, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV). Later, they saw a demonstration of how to refuel a train using a portable hydrogen filling station.

The occasion took place at the Siemens Test and Validation Center in North Rhine-Wegberg-Wildenrath. In order to phase out diesel fuel, it aspires for hydrogen technology to eventually replace diesel-powered trainsets in regional transportation.

Since they run on green hydrogen with no emissions and only produce water vapor, hydrogen trains are a particularly environmentally benign kind of propulsion.
In November 2020, the public was introduced to the H2goesRail initiative by Siemens Mobility and Deutsche Bahn. Employees of DB have received training on how to run the system once it goes into operation, in addition to the commissioning and refueling tests that were performed in recent months.

The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport is providing the initiative with €13.74 million as part of the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

The Mireo Plus H created for the H2goesRail project has a peak speed of 160 km/h, a range of up to 800 km, and is just as powerful as its electric multiple-unit cousin with 1.7 MW of traction power and up to 1.1 m/s2 acceleration.

A quick refilling procedure is a crucial need to make hydrogen technology competitive with diesel fuel in everyday use. In order to do this, DB created a brand-new technique that, for the first time, makes it possible for a hydrogen train to be refueled just as quickly as a diesel-powered train. This is crucial in light of how precisely timed DB’s regional passenger service is scheduled. DB Energy will create hydrogen for the trains in Tübingen using green electricity obtained straight from the overhead power line.

For instance, moving from diesel to the H2goesRail project train will reduce CO2 emissions on the route between Tübingen and Pforzheim by around 330 tons annually. Generally speaking, and depending on the route, the Mireo Plus H can reduce emissions by up to 520 tons annually (calculated on a total mileage of 200,000 kilometers). In Baden-Württemberg, test drives of the Mireo Plus H will start in 2023. The H2goesRail project will utilize it starting in 2024 for regular passenger service between Tübingen, Horb, and Pforzheim, taking the place of a diesel railcar that is now used on that route.

Project specifics

The formal name of the collaborative funding initiative is “H2goesRail.” The National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, run by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), is providing more than €13 million in financing for the initiative (NIP 2). NIP 2 is being carried out by project manager Jülich under the direction of NOW (National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology) GmbH.

Driven by hydrogen

Hydrogen and oxygen combine to create power and water as a “waste product” in fuel-cell technology-based hydrogen propulsion systems. By using these trains to replace its diesel-powered trains with alternative propulsion systems, DB may achieve carbon neutrality. Green power is utilized to create ecologically beneficial green hydrogen, ensuring that the solution is really green. The hydrogen will come from DB Energy.

Mireo Plus H

Siemens has created a two-car regional train with a next-generation hydrogen motor system for the project’s one-year trial run. The locomotive is propelled by two separate systems, each of which consists of a fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery. Depending on operational conditions like the season or route, the Mireo Plus H has a range of up to 800 kilometers and is as powerful as an electric multiple-unit train. The range for a three-car version is up to 1,000 kilometers. The train has low lifespan costs as a result of its lower maintenance and repair expenses. 160 kilometers per hour is the highest speed of the Mireo Plus H.

Refueling station

The associated hydrogen infrastructure has been created, examined, and improved by DB. At the DB maintenance facility in Tübingen, green electricity obtained straight from the overhead power line is used to electrolyze hydrogen. Water is electrically divided into hydrogen and oxygen in the electrolyzer. The hydrogen is held in a transportable storage unit once it has been compressed. The green fuel is treated and cooled before being refueled. The transportable equipment will make it possible for DB to carry out further test projects on non-electronically powered rail lines.

A quick refueling

In a ground-breaking method, the train is refueled with hydrogen in a process that, for the first time, is faster than tanking a diesel train. This is a crucial consideration given that DB’s commuter and regional trains follow strict timetables. Hydrogen technology will be economically competitive with the currently used diesel fuel because of this quick refilling procedure.

Maintenance

The service of the hydrogen trains will be performed at the Ulm DB repair facility. The trains will be serviced and maintained by extensively trained DB Region personnel with assistance from Siemens Mobility professionals.

Passenger activities

The train will start running between Tübingen, Horb, and Pforzheim in 2024 after completing a test phase. There will be a scheduled train service for about 120,000 kilometers. The route’s usual regional service frequency and geography make it especially ideal for testing. The Siemens Mobility Mireo Plus H will reduce carbon emissions on this route by around 330 tons annually by taking the place of a diesel-powered train. Drivers will run the hydrogen train in passenger service after receiving specific training on it.