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A Siemens Mireo Plus H hydrogen train, Source: Siemens Mobility

From 2024, Berlin will launch hydrogen trains

From 2024, Berlin will launch hydrogen trains

This is a joint pilot project between the states of Berlin and Brandenburg in Germany

Earlier this week, Siemens Mobility announced that it has signed a contract with German rail operator Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB) to construct and deliver seven hydrogen-powered trains in the fall of 2024. NEB operates in the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region and the project is co-funded by the regional governments of the two respective states (Berlind and Brandenburg), with participation from the federal authorities.

The two-carriage trains, of the Mireo Plus H model, will use hydrogen fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries. In addition to the order, it is planned to conclude a 10-year contract for service and provision of spare parts, valid until 2034.

According to CNBC, Siemens Mobility, part of the giant Siemens, stated the trains would provide mobility that does not generate any carbon emissions and will develop a top speed of 160 kilometres per hour.

By switching from diesel to hydrogen, Heidekrautbahn (a line operated by NEB) will reduce its annual CO2 emissions by around three million kilos and save 1.1 million litres of diesel,” the company said on Monday, 27 June.

Making rail transport even more energy efficient

Hydrogen has been described as a “versatile energy carrier” by the International Energy Agency (IEA) due to its diverse range of applications. It is increasingly becoming used in the field of mobility and the hope is that it can bring about a veritable transition revolution to decarbonizing public transport.

Trains are already one of the most energy efficient modes of transport, according to the Agency, accounting for 9% of motorized passenger movement, while only using 3% of transport energy.

Nevertheless, it still relies heavily on oil, which represented 55% of the sector’s total energy consumption in 2020. Under the IEA’s scenario for a net-zero energy system by the year 2050, oil use in rail would have to drop to “almost zero” by the middle of the century.

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