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Tarek Al-Wazir: "Fuel cells are a viable alternative for non-overhead railway lines" @HTAI

Steam instead of diesel soot and CO2 emissions – fuel cell drives can be a noise-reducing and climate-friendly alternative to diesel vehicles on railway lines without overhead lines. Such trains are to run in the Taunus region from 2022.


On a special trip from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt-Hoechst on Friday, around 150 passengers were able to get an impression of the Coradia iLint, the world’s first fuel cell-powered passenger train made by train manufacturer Alstom.


In addition to Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian State Minister of Economics and Transport, the managing directors of Alstom Germany, Dr. Joerg Nikutta, of the Rhine-Main Transport Association, Prof. Knut Ringat, and the site operator Infraserv Hoechst, Dr. Joachim Kreysing, were on board.


Ringat and Kreysing presented the current plans for the possible use of fuel cell trains and their refuelling in the Taunus region from the end of 2022. The event was organized by the Hessian Energy Agency (Hessische LandesEnergieAgentur, LEA) and the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Initiative Hessen e.V. (H2BZ Initiative Hesse). 


"Transport contributes one third of Hessian greenhouse gas emissions. That is why we now have to move quickly towards climate-friendly mobility – also on the railways, where many branch lines are still operated with diesel vehicles due to the lack of overhead lines. The fuel cell drive is a viable alternative to costly electrification," Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian State Minister for Economic Affairs and Transport explains.


Fuel cells generate electric energy from the reaction of hydrogen with oxygen to form water. Instead of exhaust gases, only steam is produced. The Coradia iLint is therefore equipped with a hydrogen tank and a battery to store the electric energy generated on board. With one tank filling, the iLint can travel up to 1,000 kilometers and reaches a top speed of 140 km/h. "We are delighted with the great interest in our Coradia iLint, the world's first fuel cell-powered regional passenger train to be used in Germany this year,” says Dr. Joerg Nikutta, Managing Director of Alstom in Germany & Austria. “For Alstom, it is more than just the technical feasibility of fuel cells. We already offer a completely emission-free mobility concept, including the infrastructure for refuelling with hydrogen. We are proving that our concept is economical and thus competitive."


The Rhine-Main Transport Association (RMV) is currently preparing a tender for up to 26 emission-free vehicles. These are to operate on non-electrified or only partially electrified lines in the Taunus region from the end of 2022. “Public transport is key to achieve our climate targets. In order to make local transport fit for this task, we have to focus even more on fuel cell and battery technology,” Prof. Knut Ringat, Managing Director of RMV, stresses. “The use of fuel cell trains in the Taunus region is therefore yet another important step for us towards a local transport system that is both environmentally friendly and reduces noise. It will also offer our passengers even more space and comfort,” Ringat continues. 


The Coradia iLint could particularly be used on the regional railway lines RB11, RB12, RB15 and RB16. These are the lines between Bad Soden and Frankfurt-Hoechst, between Koenigstein and Frankfurt Central Station, between Brandoberndorf and Bad Homburg as well as between Friedberg and Friedrichsdorf.


Trains could refuel in Industriepark Hoechst, where hydrogen is produced as a by-product. A corresponding filling station concept is already available. “As an innovative operator of industrial parks, we are continually optimizing our energy supply concepts and working to make the most intensive use of renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources,” says Dr. Joachim Kreysing, Managing Director of site operator Infraserv Hoechst. “This is why hydrogen and fuel cell technology is an interesting topic for us, because Industriepark Hoechst is the ideal location for this due to its existing hydrogen infrastructure.”


“Emission-free, energy-efficient and cost-effective – railcars with fuel cell drive are an environmentally friendly alternative to diesel locomotives. Hydrogen and fuel cell technology will make it possible to get a technical grip on electrification gaps in the future. This is why we are promoting the technology with funds from the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP 2),” explains Enak Ferlemann, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. Two funding outlines - one each from RMV and Infraserv Hoechst - on the procurement of the innovative fuel cell trains and the construction of the necessary hydrogen refuelling infrastructure were submitted a few days ago.


The State of Hesse has been supporting the project since 2015 regarding the set-up of the necessary refuelling infrastructure. “With the implementation support for this lighthouse project under the authority of the Hessian Ministry of Economics and Energy, we can make an important contribution to a successful energy transition in Hesse,” says Dr. Karsten McGovern of the Hessian State Energy Agency. “At the same time, we support the development of promising competencies among the Hessian suppliers involved, who present themselves as pioneers here."


The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Initiative Hessen e.V. also supports the initiative. “Hydrogen and fuel cells can be an essential component of our future energy system,” explains its chairman Dr. Heinrich Lienkamp. “The more electricity is generated from renewables, but also fluctuating sources, the higher the demand for corresponding storage technologies. Hydrogen has many advantages in this respect and also offers the possibility of sectoral coupling, so that, for example, our transport system can also become clean and sustainable.”


Updated press photos are successively provided during and after the event for download under https://bildhirt.loadmeup.eu/Pressefotos-BZ-Zug-13.04.18/


Picture credit: HA Hessen Agentur GmbH / Stefan Wildhirt


Text and pictures – using picture credits – are freed for publication.




Do you have questions or wish further Information?


HA Hessen Agentur GmbH
Konradinerallee 9
65189 Wiesbaden

Thorsten Schulte, +49 611 95017-8114, presse@hessen-agentur.de
Markus Laemmer, +49 611 95017-8664, markus.laemmer@hessen-agentur.de