French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with local firm Plastic Omnium for the development of hydrogen storage systems for the railway industry.

The collaboration will leverage the combined expertise of the two companies to support the development.

Alstom and Plastic Omnium have also formed a dedicated team to oversee the technical and commercial development of hydrogen onboard storage solutions.

The partners aim to introduce hydrogen storage solutions for regional trains operating in France and Italy from next year.

The addition of such storage systems will enable the trains to operate on non-electrified tracks without using fossil fuels.

Plastic Omnium clean energy systems division CEO Christian Kopp said: “Our partnership with Alstom aims to develop high-performance hydrogen solutions capable of tackling the sustainability challenges facing railway transportation.

“It is another step on the path toward carbon-free mobility and further confirmation of our group’s expertise in hydrogen solutions and its potential for growth as it reaches out to a new customer base.”

According to Alstom, the railway sector is one of the first industries to develop zero-emission hydrogen mobility amid growing focus on sustainability.

Alstom chief commercial officer Thierry Best said: “The emergence of a strong hydrogen ecosystem is of critical importance for driving the development of hydrogen rail as a zero emissions alternative for regional rail.

“The planned combination of Plastic Omnium’s expertise in hydrogen storage solutions and our expertise in hydrogen trains is in this regard an important milestone to build an innovative and strong hydro rail value chain.”

Earlier this month, Alstom conducted a technical demonstration journey of its battery-powered train.