Shift2Rail has cooperated with ÖBB on a pioneer project investigating the usage of hydrogen rail vehicles for passenger traffic. The project launched on 11 September 2020 includes three months of demonstration operations in passenger traffic with one hydrogen train on the ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG rail network.
The project aims to show the need for R&D in the area of rail hydrogen systems, in particular in terms of system integration and system cost efficiency and to define a regulatory need for a sustainable market roll out in Europe.
The project will provide several benefits to the European railways in regard to hydrogen-powered trains:
- sound testing of H2-driven vehicles in normal operation in Alpine area (including full passenger traffic),
- expertise and key knowledge (including key risks) for a successful homologation of H2 rail systems in Europe,
- cover specific currently still missing R&D aspects such as evaluation of fuel cell technology, traction systems and batteries under Alpine conditions as well as data analysis of energy consumption, batteries and fuel cell power unit,
- develop the requirements for future hydrogen trains and hydrogen rail systems for regional lines (including options and key parameters for local production, supply and logistics of green H2 as well as specifications for hybrid train operation)
- make rail hydrogen solutions visible and showing the areas where additional R&D is needed, in particular focusing on systems solutions including the integration of the rail vehicle into the energy and infrastructure eco system,
- set an example for successful and highly visible cooperation between rail and hydrogen/fuel cell sector
- build-up H2 Know-how (technical, operational, economical, logistics) as a basis for future system decisions (H2 vs. battery vs. electrification of lines),
The project was launched in Vienna, Austria on 11 September 2020. Additionally, several events, high level meetings and press conferences will be held as part of the project activities later this year.