The future of hydrogen technology starts todayThe UK is in danger of missing its climate change targets if it doesn’t speed up electrification plans and introduce hydrogen railway infrastructure and trains, according to the latest analysis by Siemens Mobility. Using data produced by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR)* and Network Rail**, Siemens Mobility has calculated that the current railway electrification proposals could take until 2060 and beyond to complete. This means leaving polluting diesel trains on the network for more than 10 years after the UK’s legislative Net Zero date. As a result, the Government’s ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions are under threat unless there is clear focus on decarbonising the railway as a full system. To bridge this gap, Siemens Mobility is calling upon the Government to commit to electrifying a minimum of 300 miles (or 450 track kilometres) of the rail network every year until 2050, providing full or discontinuously electrified routes, to enable the introduction of new electric trains. To supplement this, new self-powered trains utilising alternative power sources, such as hydrogen or battery, must be introduced to help replace current ageing diesel and diesel bi-mode fleets.
Where could the UK use hydrogen trains?
Siemens Mobility has identified a number of routes where hydrogen trains could be used. They include: the Cross Country line from Aberdeen to Penzance; the Chiltern line to Birmingham; the Norwich to Liverpool route and the Waterloo to Exeter route. Using a combination of new electric infrastructure and / or new Hydrogen trains on these routes would remove diesel fleets and support the Government’s plan to achieve 78% of its Net Zero obligations by 2035. Read more in the press release below:
As a UK leader in decarbonisation, Scotland's rail network offers great potential for the introduction of hydrogen and battery powered trains as well as accelerated electrification. Siemens Mobility has outlined major routes on the Scottish rail network which could benefit from these green power alternatives. To stay on track and ensure that the nation meets its 2035 net zero carbon target, key decisions on decrabonisation the rail ntwork must be made today. Take a look at how Scotland can go further and faster in this short animation.
A word from our CEO Will Wilson: Busting myths about hydrogen
“There’s been much said about the short-range and low-speed of hydrogen trains,” added Wilson. “That’s simply incorrect. Our solutions can easily travel at 100mph+, have similar acceleration to an electric train and have up to a 600-mile hydrogen-only range.
“There’s also a lot of chatter about the need to offer hydrogen OR electric technologies. Again, that’s misleading. They can be used in tandem to offer a well-rounded solution to the transport challenges of today.
“What is absolutely right is the need to act quickly. Our climate challenges are real and current, not something to be delayed or only partially-addressed.”
Delivering the whole hydrogen system - from trains to supply chain
Siemens Mobility and Siemens Energy working together to deliver hydrogen for rail
Siemens Energy and Siemens Mobility have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly develop and offer hydrogen systems for trains. The aim is to jointly develop holistic hydrogen solutions for rail transport - covering the trains to an electrolysis and fueling solution for the fast fueling of hydrogen-powered trains.
Siemens Gamesa and Siemens Energy to unlock a new era of offshore green hydrogen production
Siemens Gamesa and Siemens Energy are investing a total of EUR 120 million over five years in developments leading to a fully integrated offshore wind-to-hydrogen solution. This is the first major step to develop an industrial-scale system capable of harvesting green hydrogen from offshore wind, which is vital to supporting large scale hydrogen usage in the UK such as in the rail sector.
Hydrogen projects in other regions - Deutsche Bahn, GermanyIn a joint project, Deutsche Bahn and Siemens Mobility are testing a brand-new complete system consisting of a newly developed train and a newly designed filling station. Siemens Mobility is developing the next generation of hydrogen trains. Equipped with a fuel cell drive and a lithium-ion battery, it provides local, emission-free mobility on non-electrified routes.
Hydrogen collaboration with Deutsche Bahn (DB)
Together with Deutsche Bahn we are working to advance the climate-friendly transportation transition. For our joint project „H2 goes Rail“, DB is developing an innovative hydrogen filling station that enables a hydrogen train to refuel within the same time period as a diesel train. For more information, visit the Deutsche Bahn website.
Hydrogen news at a glance
All facts at a glance
How does a hydrogen drive work? How does the Mireo Plus H refuel? When does trial operation start? We have summarized all the facts about the joint project with Deutsche Bahn for you.
With hydrogen drive systems, the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen produces electrical energy and water as a „waste product“. These trains can be deployed by DB as a way to become climate-neutral and replace diesel vehicles with alternative drive systems. Green electricity is used to produce the environmentally friendly green hydrogen. DB Energie is responsible for its supply.
Siemens is developing a two-car commuter train with a state-of-the-art hydrogen drive system for one-year trial operation. It consists of a fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery. The Mireo Plus H will be as powerful as electric multiple-unit trains and have a range of 600 kilometers – depending on operating conditions such as the season or the route. A three-car version will have a range of 1000 kilometers. Low life-cycle costs due to low maintenance and repair costs and a top speed of 160 kilometers per hour are the vehicle's distinguishing features.
The hydrogen is produced by electrolysis in a DB Energie mobile filling station at the DB Regio plant in Tübingen. In the so-called electrolyzer, water is split into hydrogen and oxygen by means of electricity. Compressed in a compressor, the hydrogen is stored in a mobile storage unit. Prior to the refueling process, the green fuel is processed and cooled in the adjacent tank trailer. The mobile structure makes further test projects possible. DB Energie develops, tests and optimizes the necessary hydrogen infrastructure.
The train is refueled with hydrogen in a novel process: for the first time, it won’t take longer than the 15 minutes required to refuel a diesel multiple unit. This is an important factor considering the closely timed schedules of DB’s regional train services. This means that hydrogen technology is competitive with the diesel fuel used in everyday operations to date.
Trial operation between Tübingen, Horb, and Pforzheim will begin in 2024 and last for one year. Approximately 120,000 kilometers of scheduled rail service are planned. The route is particularly suitable based on the timetable intervals and topography. The Mireo Plus H from Siemens will replace a diesel railcar used on this route and save about 330 tons of CO2.