Ballard Power Systems has signed an agreement to develop a zero-emission fuel cell engine for Siemens’ Mireo light rail train.

The arrangement will see Ballard develop a 200kW fuel cell engine for installation on-board Siemens’ new Mireo vehicle, which is a modular commuter train platform designed to operate at a maximum speed of 160km/h.

The new train is also equipped with energy-efficient components and intelligent onboard network management systems.

It is expected to consume up to 25% less energy compared to other vehicles with similar passenger capacities.

“This Development Agreement with Siemens, a major industrial conglomerate and leading global train OEM, is a testament to the overall value proposition offered by Ballard’s fuel cell technology.”

Siemens Mobility Division CEO Sabrina Soussan said: “Our cooperation with Ballard is a decisive step towards replacing diesel-powered rail vehicles with emissions-free vehicles in the long term interests of sustainable and climate-friendly mobility.

“We want to be able to offer our customers flexible train solutions for various suburban routes, which vary according to regional conditions and technical possibilities.”

The initial deployments of the fuel cell-powered Mireo trains are currently scheduled to begin in 2021.

Ballard Power Systems president and CEO Randy MacEwen said: “We are seeing rapid market demand growing for clean energy fuel cell technology in a range of heavy duty motive applications, including trains, trams, transit buses and commercial trucks.

“This Development Agreement with Siemens, a major industrial conglomerate and leading global train OEM, is a testament to the overall value proposition offered by Ballard’s fuel cell technology in a demanding use case and duty cycle.

“In this application, fuel cells enable electrification with range, without the need for costly catenary wire infrastructure.”

The agreement is noted to have a contemplated value of nearly $9m for Ballard.