Image: Ballard Power Systems

Ballard Power Systems has obtained a purchase order from Siemens Mobility GmbH for two of its 200-kilowatt (kW) fuel cell modules to power a two-car Mireo Plus H passenger train during a trial run in Bavaria, Germany.

According to Ballard’s November 2017 announcement, the 200kW fuel cell module was developed and tested as part of a multi-year Development Agreement with Siemens for use as the primary propulsion system for the Mireo Plus H light rail train. Ballard anticipates delivering the modules requested by Siemens for the Bavaria trial operation in 2022.

Albrecht Neumann, CEO Rolling Stock, Siemens Mobility said, “Siemens Mobility is a leading supplier in the development of alternative drives, which can contribute significantly to reducing emissions, especially in regional transport where there are no electrified overhead lines. The technology partnership between Siemens Mobility and the State of Bavaria enables the further development of the Mireo Plus H for Bavaria and supports climate-friendly passenger transport in the state.”

Rob Campbell, Ballard Chief Commercial Officer noted, “The trial operation in Bavaria is an exciting development in our ongoing work with Siemens for its Mireo Plus H passenger train. Development and testing of our 200-kilowatt module for the train has been successfully completed and operation in Bavaria is an important step toward commercialization of the train. Both passenger and freight trains – with their heavy payloads and requirements for long range and rapid refueling – represent important opportunities for which fuel cells are an ideal zero-emission solution.”  

The Bavarian State Ministers for Economic Affairs and Transport are in favor of testing a hydrogen-powered train in Bavaria. In 2023, the two-car Mireo Plus H train will be tested on several routes, including Augsburg-Füssen. The trial will initially run for 30 months on the rail network of Bayerische Regiobahn (BRB), with the train based in Augsburg.

The Mireo Plus H platform is a modular commuter train designed to operate at speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour) on non-electrified rail lines over a distance of up to 800 kilometers (500 miles). Ballard fuel cell units are located on the train’s roof and work in tandem with batteries beneath the floor. The train consumes up to 25% less energy than today’s trains with comparable passenger capacity due to its lightweight design, energy-efficient components, and clever onboard network management. The Mireo Plus H will be unveiled to the public in April 2022, followed by test runs in Bavaria in 2023 before entering passenger service formally in 2024.

Nedim Husomanovic

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