Deutsche Bahn (DB) will use green hydrogen from Lhyfe’s new production plant at its innovation hub in Tübingen, Germany after signing an agreement with the hydrogen producer for its H2goesRail development project. 

The hydrogen supply will fuel new technologies currently being tested by D’s subsidiary DB Energie, including a new hydrogen train which is set to be put into operation on a test service in the Baden-Württemberg region later this year. 

Luc Graré, head of Central and Eastern Europe at Lhyfe, described H2goesRail as a “pioneer” in passenger transportation and said: “This project demonstrates the economic viability of hydrogen solutions in the transport and mobility sector. 

“Sustainable energy sources and innovative technologies are needed to decarbonize the transport sector. One of these technologies is hydrogen-powered trains, which are a clean and efficient alternative to conventional diesel-powered trains as they are virtually CO2-free.” 

The Tübingen plant has an annual production capacity of up to 30 tons and will be powered by green electricity from DB’s own portfolio as part of the rail provider’s innovation hub. 

The hydrogen system being tested at the site is part of DB’s partnership with Siemens Mobility and includes a new hydrogen filling station concept for the Mireo Plus H train currently being tested by the two companies.

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Lhyfe said that it hopes its involvement in the project at the innovation hub will provide it with experience operating a largely autonomous system and the direct coupling of hydrogen production with a filling station at scale. 

While the hydrogen producer has already opened a number of production plants in France, the Tübingen site is its first in Germany and part of a wider investment in the region, with a larger plant under construction in nearby Schwäbisch Gmünd. 

DB’s project is just one of many exploring the use of hydrogen as a zero emissions alternative to diesel for rolling stock, with an EU-backed project also underway in Spain and Portugal and Stadler recently completing the longest unbroken journey by a hydrogen train with its FLIRT H2 model.