Hydrogen trains: the first efforts.

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In order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, many transport companies have started implementing projects related to hydrogen transport. Some countries are already committed to carbon neutrality, that is, transport companies have reduced to zero emissions of carbon dioxide and its analogues or compensated for them. And within a few years they will include hydrogen trains in their railway systems, according to the tourism portal tourism-review. The pioneers in this matter are Scotland, Germany and Spain.

Hydrogen trains

Scotland is restoring old trains

Mysterious lakes, dramatic peaks and romantic Scottish castles can all be seen in the best and most luxurious scenic trains in the world, such as the Belmond Royal Scotsman. Nevertheless, Scotland wants to push green trains even further and is working on a grand plan to develop hydrogen trains for the entire railway network of the country.

This is an ambitious project. By 2035, Scotland wants all of its passenger trains to achieve carbon neutrality. Thus, 5 years ahead of the UK by five years.
The first of these trains has already been launched and is expected to be presented at this year's UN Climate Change Conference, which will be held from November 1 to 12 in Glasgow.

The idea is to reuse existing trains, giving them a new life, but now without emissions.

According to Scottish Transport Minister Michael Matheson, it "has the potential to be a decisive factor for the future of Scotland's railway rolling stock." He said the rail decarbonisation action plan called for making passenger railways emission-free by 2035, but in order to maximise Britain's climate change ambitions, there was also a requirement to see what the country was doing with the retired stock. "If we can bring them back to carbon-neutral use, we will get huge climate benefits," Matheson said.

Hydrogen trains

Germany is preparing trains and rules.

In Germany, Deutsche Bahn plans to deploy hydrogen trains by 2024. The German railway operator will conduct tests using a Siemens hydrogen train based on the Mireo Plus H installation between Tübingen, Horb and Pforzheim, which, according to estimates, will reduce CO2 emissions by 330 tons per year. The company claims that the hydrogen train will be as fast as current electric trains, with a maximum speed of 160 km/h and capable of covering 600 km. It will run on a fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery, and since this is a carbon footprint reduction project, the electricity used will come from renewable sources.

Moreover, Alstom hydrogen trains have already conquered several territories in Germany. By 2022, 14 additional units will be launched on rails in Lower Saxony on behalf of the regional operator LNVG, and 27 in Hesse with the help of RMV.

These and subsequent programs contributed to the fact that the German authorities provided this development with special regulatory and technical requirements.

Under the Federal Railway Administration, the German Railway Research Center has applied to the certification bureau TÜV Rheinland InterTraffic with a request to develop a standard as a precondition for the development of hydrogen-fueled trains.

While tests of hydrogen trains have already allowed to launch the first orders and plan the construction of 2 specialized filling stations, respectively, near Frankfurt and Bremerferde in northern Germany. The Federal Government is concerned about the lack of any specific safety regulations.

Before proceeding with the development of a set of rules, the certification body intends to consider all relevant national and international restrictions and standards applicable to hydrogen vehicles. Then an analysis will be carried out to assess their transposition to railway mobility. Then TÜV Rheinland InterTraffic will present a draft of a specific railway standard for onboard hydrogen fuel cell systems in railway vehicles within 1 year. In general, the organization will manage the project, document the results of the work and coordinate the work of the working group. The latter will include experts who are actively working all over the world in the hydrogen transport sector.

Hydrogen-fueled trains even in Spain.

In the case of Spain, which is slightly behind schedule, Talgo has introduced its Talgo Vittal-One commuter train, which is due to begin its trial run at the end of 2021. If successful, the new hydrogen-fueled trains will be put into operation between 2022 and 2023.

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