Germany – Deutsche Bahn is being discussed as a supplier of large quantities of hydrogen for the industry. The freight railway said on Sunday that a plan had been created with energy providers for how hydrogen might be delivered in the current tank wagons from the seaports to the interior. This is a practical substitute for intricate pipeline construction. Competitors of Deutsche Bahn, on the other hand, also identify problems with rail travel.
For industrial uses where electrification is not an option, “green” hydrogen is viewed as one of the best prospects in the battle against climate change. However, neither the requisite storage nor distribution networks, nor bigger quantities at affordable pricing, are now available. Germany will be dependent on imports because the necessary amounts won’t be accessible there for many years.
The liquid-bound hydrogen is ready to be loaded into the tank trains, according to Deutsche Bahn. When the hydrogen reaches its industrial users, it should only be removed from its carrier medium so that it may be employed as an energy carrier.
A market to win
About half of the freight trains that run through Germany are owned by Deutsche Bahn. Currently, there aren’t enough wagons available, and the train system is already very busy.
However, VTG, a rival in the rail industry, is also keeping an eye on the potential new market. The Hamburg firm claims to have unique tank carriages and tank containers available.
Because there are currently no adequate hydrogen pipes. It may also be blended with the current network of natural gas, according to experts, and transported by truck. Another method is to move liquid hydrogen in rail tank cars. In order to provide filling stations for hydrogen locomotives, Deutsche Bahn is also engaged in the development of new hydrogen containers.
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
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.
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.