Russian Railways, along with Rusnano and the Sinara Group, has agreed to work for the development of hydrogen fuel cell mainline locomotives.

These locomotives will be developed by utilising a power plant dependent on electrochemical hydrogen fuel cells, and lithium-ion batteries.

The project will involve Russian Railways as a potential customer of the hydrogen fuel cell locomotives.

The Sinara Group, which will be represented by the Sinara-Transport Machines Machine-building, will act as the general contractor.

Rusnano will carry out the responsibilities of a co-contractor in terms of hydrogen fuel cells, energy storage systems built on lithium-ion storage batteries, and other technological solutions. Meanwhile, it will be represented by partners and subsidiaries.

As part of the agreement, the partners will conduct research and development, along with the evaluation of the necessary infrastructure, as well as the development of the technical necessities for the vehicles.

They will execute numerous activities for the development, manufacture and testing of the locomotives.

Russian Railways CEO and management board chairman Oleg Belozerov said: “The bulk of all work is done on clean energy sources. Russian Railways accounts for less than 1% of Russia’s total volume of greenhouse emissions.

“From 2025, we plan to purchase only electric locomotives, as well as locomotives operating on alternative energy sources such as natural gas and hydrogen. This will enable us to further reduce the environmental burden on the environment.”

The organisations are also planning to cooperate in the development of shunting locomotives.

They will be developed by using a hybrid power plant based on hydrogen fuel cells and domestically generated energy storage units.

The prototypes of mainline and shunting locomotives are expected to be developed in 2023-2024.

In October 2020, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank announced to extend a $300m loan to Russian Railways.