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Hydrogen in passenger and freight transport

Hydrogen is increasingly being tested as a propulsion energy source. As many as three experimental vehicles were on display at this year's InnoTrans, and one series-production vehicle was presented live in operation.

The Polish rail vehicle manufacturer Pesa and the Polish mineral oil company and petrol station operator PKN Orlen showed their fuel-cell-operated shunting locomotive. The SM42-6D shunting locomotive is a converted SM42 diesel shunter. It has been equipped with a fuel cell from Ballard. The 70-tonne locomotive maintains its four traction motors of 180 kilowatts each. The locomotive will operate on the Orlen works premises from 2025/26.

Different railcar concepts

The two exhibited hydrogen rail- car concepts were very different from each other. The Flirt H2 of Stadler Rail Group, Bussnang, Switzerland for the USA has the entire hydrogen technology as well as the batteries housed in the centrally located, nine-metre- long "powercar" - the passenger areas in the end cars, which are equivalent to those of the electric Flirt, are thus connected with a long dark tube as a corridor. The Flirt H2 as a one-off is scheduled to enter service in Califor- nia in 2024. According to Stadler, the range is just under 500 kilometres for a day's operation. The Mireo Plus H from Siemens Mobility GmbH is different – it has the technology under the floor and on the roof. But here, too, the train largely corresponds to the series-produced Mireo multiple units for overhead line operation.

In passenger service in Northern Germany

Alstom’s iLint 54 hydrogen train, which is already in passenger service in Northern Germany, was not exhibited at the exhibition grounds. As an alternative, the French company offered a total of six trips across Berlin, between Spandau and Ostbahnhof, on three days of the fair.

Networked players around hydrogen

Hydrogen is widely tipped to become a leading future energy carrier – not only in the rail sector, but for numerous applications in industry and mobility. Messe Berlin is responding to this dynamic with the "Global Hydro- generation" hydrogen project. With communication and networking, the initiative aims to "bring together the socially relevant players in the field of hydrogen", according to Messe Berlin. After its first appearance at the ILA air show in June, Global Hydrogeneration was now represented at InnoTrans.

A hydrogen train at InnoTrans.

Photo: DVV Media