RMV, a German regional transport group began construction recently of a hydrogen filling station just outside of Frankfurt that will use hydrogen generated as a by-product of chemical manufacturing to fuel the world’s largest fleet of zero-emissions passenger train fleet. Alstom, a French company, will deliver 27 hydrogen-powered fuel-cell trains to the Infraserv Hoechst industrial park in the Rhine-Main region in mid-2022. Starting regular local services by winter in the same year, the fleet will replace diesel engines. The fuel cells onboard the zero-emissions train fleet that will go through Frankfurt will convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity to provide low-noise propulsion that only emits water, helping cut carbon pollution from the rail transport system.
Hesse state and the federal government helped fund the US$590.4 million hydrogen filling station project. Hesse lies in the center of Europe and half its energy consumption goes into transport, such as the link to Frankfurt airport, Europe’s biggest air cargo hub, and adjacent railways and roads. The Coradia iLint trains will be fueled by hydrogen released as a byproduct of chlorine made in the chemicals and pharmaceuticals park and piped to the tank tracks. More hydrogen will come from an upcoming 5MW electrolyzer that will draw on renewable electricity.
“We have shown that we will have enough hydrogen to fuel the fleet economically. With one full tank per day, the trains can travel 1,000 kilometers, just like diesel trains,” said RMV’s managing director Knut Ringat at a ceremony. RMV will reclaim parts of its investment via fares. The Berlin government has also helped pay a 40% price premium for the trains over a diesel equivalent. Berlin expects green hydrogen to become competitive with fossil fuels and to play a key role in the decarbonizing industry, heating, and transport.