According to the Pro-Rail Alliance, only 61 percent of the German state rail network is electrified. In many places, therefore, diesel locomotives still carry passengers and freight. One alternative to the expensive construction of overhead lines – especially on less frequented lines – is the use of hydrogen-powered trains. One of the leading companies in this field is Siemens. And an important location for this innovative technology has recently been established in NRW: At the Siemens test center in Wegberg-Wildenrath, hydrogen trains of the "Mireo Plus H" model have been tested since September.
"Together with our partners, we are today taking a decisive step toward the future of climate-neutral transportation," said Roland Busch, CEO of Siemens AG, on the occasion of the maiden voyage of the "Mireo Plus H" from Wegberg-Wildenrath. This marked an important milestone for the "H2goesRail" project, which Siemens Mobility initiated together with Deutsche Bahn in November 2020. The two companies aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector with the H2 trains.
The "Mireo Plus H" does not emit any climate-harming exhaust gases on the track, only water vapor. With a range of up to 1,000 kilometers and acceleration of 1.1 meters per second to 160 km/h, it can easily compete with diesel locomotives. A new refueling process makes refueling just as fast as with diesel. If the hydrogen for the train was produced using electricity from renewable energies, i.e. if it qualifies as green hydrogen, it is even completely climate-neutral.