Siemens Mobility and Deutsche Bahn present new hydrogen train

Deutsche Bahn and Siemens Mobility have presented the newly developed Mireo Plus H and a newly designed mobile hydrogen storage trailer.

Siemens Hydrogen

Credit: Siemens Mobility - The Mireo Plus H train

Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Siemens Mobility have premiered the newly developed Mireo Plus H, the next-generation hydrogen-powered train, and a newly designed mobile hydrogen storage trailer. The train and its new infrastructure are intended to replace diesel multiple-unit trains in commuter and regional transport and reduce rail-related CO2 emissions to zero.

The joint funding project is officially called “H2goesRail” and it is being funded as part of the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW GmbH) with €13.74 million by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV). The funding guideline is coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by project lead Jülich.

“In its coalition agreement, the federal government agreed to electrify 75 per cent of the country’s rail network by 2030,” Michael Theurer, Parliamentary State Secretary in the BMDV, said. “Here, alternative drives can help reduce emissions from diesel rail transport. This way, we’ll be able to operate virtually climate-neutral on rail routes where full electrification is not possible. The H2goesRail project will not only test the use of hydrogen for rail, but substantially advance the technology.”

“Only with a strong rail system and alternative types of drives will we be able to make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change, the Mireo Plus H enables climate-friendly and emission-free passenger transport,” Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility, said. “With the Mireo Plus H, we have developed the next generation of hydrogen-powered trains that offers a particularly long operating range and faster acceleration. Each delivered train can save up to 45,000 tonnes of CO2 over its service life of 30 years compared to corresponding travel with cars.” 

“For Deutsche Bahn, hydrogen trains are an important component on our way to achieving climate neutrality,” Dr. Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, Member of the Management Board for Digitalisation and Technology at Deutsche Bahn, said. “Together with Siemens and the newly developed hydrogen train, we are creating an overall system which will take us another step towards phasing out diesel and enable the greening of the fleet.”

As a two-car train, the Mireo Plus H for the H2goesRail project has an operating range of up to 800 kilometres, is as powerful as its electric multiple-unit counterpart, has 1.7MW of traction power providing up to 1.1 m/s2 acceleration, and a top speed of 160 kilometres per hour. A three-car version has a range of up to 1,000 kilometres.

One key element needed to make hydrogen technology competitive with diesel fuel in daily operation is a fast-refuelling process. To provide this, DB has developed a new method that, for the first time, enables a hydrogen train to be refuelled as fast as a diesel-powered train. This is an especially important factor considering the closely timed scheduling of DB’s regional passenger service. The fast refuelling of hydrogen trains will make the technology competitive in daily operations.

Hydrogen trains have a particularly climate-friendly drive technology, since it operates emission-free with green hydrogen and emits only water vapor. In the H2goesRail project, for example, the hydrogen train will save around 330 tonnes of CO2 in one year on the Tübingen-Pforzheim route, compared to a diesel-powered train. In general, the Mireo Plus H can save 520 tonnes a year depending on the route profile (calculated on mileage of 200,000 kilometres).   

The Mireo Plus H will start testing in Baden-Württemberg in 2023. During its planned passenger service in 2024, the hydrogen train for the H2goesRail project with Deutsche Bahn will provide regular passenger service between Tübingen, Horb and Pforzheim and replace a diesel train.