Germany to Get World’s First Hydrogen Filling Station for Passenger Trains

The world’s first hydrogen filling station for passenger trains will be built in Bremervoerde in the state of Lower Saxony, Germany.

Lower Saxony, which has seen the operation of Germany’s first hydrogen-powered train, will now also get a hydrogen filling station for these trains. Construction will begin in September. Representatives from Lower Saxony and the companies involved met at the site for a symbolic ground-breaking ceremony.

The first two trains completed their 18-month test phase in February, allowing the project to enter its next phase.

The Lower Saxony Regional Transport Company (LNVG) has commissioned Linde with the building and operation of the hydrogen filling station near Bremervoerde. Alstom, which manufactures the hydrogen trains, the federal state of Lower Saxony and the Elbe-Weser Railways and Transport Company will also be involved.

Ground-breaking ceremony for hydrogen filling station
Ground-breaking ceremony for hydrogen filling station

The hydrogen filling station should be up and running by mid-2021 and be able to take over the current mobile filling station. It will have a capacity of roughly 1,600kg of hydrogen per day. From the start of 2022, 14 hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint trains will use the hydrogen filling station on a daily basis. Each hydrogen train has a range of 1,000km, allowing them to run for a full day on a single tank.

There is room to expand around the filling station and the plan is to build facilities to allow hydrogen to be produced on site via electrolysis and regenerative electricity.

Carmen Schwabl, Managing Director, LNVG, said:

“The ground-breaking ceremony for this world's first hydrogen filling station for passenger trains is an important step for a showcase project from Lower Saxony.”

LNVG initiated the project to test hydrogen as a fuel in local passenger rail transport.

Mathias Kranz, Linde, said:

“We are delighted to play a key role in this world-leading, innovative project. Linde has long been committed to hydrogen, which can make a significant contribution to decarbonisation. The introduction of hydrogen as a fuel for trains will significantly reduce the burden on the environment, as one kilogram of hydrogen replaces approximately 4.5 litres of diesel fuel.”

Last year, Allianz pro Schiene, the German pro-rail alliance, issued its innovation prize for shaping mobility to the Alstom employee who, together with her team, developed the hydrogen refuelling station concept.

Jörg Nikutta, Managing Director Germany and Austria, Alstom, said:

“The construction of the hydrogen filling station in Bremervörde will create the basis for the series operation of our emission-free hydrogen trains in the Weser-Elbe network. We really appreciate that Linde, as an experienced hydrogen supplier, is now also taking over the refuelling of the series trains following the successful trial operation.”

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is subsiding the project via its national innovation programme for hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

Andreas Wagner, EVB, said:

“We are proud that we were the first railway company in the world with permission to operate fuel cell trains on the Weser-Elbe network. Our passengers were very curious about the trains and their technology from the very beginning. In addition to the very low noise level, the hydrogen train impresses with its zero emissions, especially in times of climate change. For our train drivers, the operation of iLint was a very special motivation.”

The first Coradia iLint entered service in Lower Saxony in September 2018.

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