The company has been awarded a contract to supply seven battery-powered trains to Danish rail company Midtjyske Jernbaner and has premiered elements of its hydrogen train and storage system in Germany.
Siemens Mobility has been awarded a contract to supply seven battery-powered Mireo Plus B trains to Danish rail company Midtjyske Jernbaner which operates in Region Midtjylland.
This is the first contract for battery-powered rail in Denmark and is part of a pilot project to replace all diesel trainsets throughout the country.
In a separate announcement, Siemens Mobility and German rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB) have premiered elements of their hydrogen train and storage systems at the Siemens plant in Krefeld.
The Mireo Plus B combines a high-performance battery system that enables trains to operate on routes with or without overhead power lines due to their battery hybrid drive. The seven two-car electric trainsets will be delivered by the end of 2024 and are scheduled to operate on two lines in the Midtjylland region of Denmark.
“This is a crucial step in our own green transition, but also a significant step towards the goal of CO2- neutral train traffic throughout Denmark,” said Martha Vrist, CEO Midtjyske Jernbaner Drift.
The trainset can accommodate 120 seated passengers, travel up to 140km/h and has a range of around 80km when in battery operation. The batteries can be charged via the 25 kV overhead line in electrified sections and by recuperating the train’s braking energy. The lithium-ion battery system is mounted underfloor and is installed in two battery containers.
“This is a crucial step in our own green transition, but also a significant step towards the goal of CO2-neutral train traffic throughout Denmark”
This is the third order Siemens Mobility has received for the Mireo Plus B and the first outside of Germany. The Landesanstalt Schienenfahrzeuge Baden-Württemberg (SFBW) ordered 20 Mireo Plus B trains in 2020 and Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB) ordered 31 in 2021. Siemens Mobility reports the technology has been extensively tested for more than one year through a preliminary version on a prototype train – the Desiro ML ÖBB Cityjet eco in Austria.
“We are delighted that Midtjyske Jernbaner has chosen the energy-efficient Mireo Plus B trains from Siemens Mobility, which will also offer a high level of driving comfort and an improved passenger experience.”
Hydrogen rail project
Meanwhile, the newly developed, hydrogen-powered Mireo Plus H train and mobile hydrogen storage trailer are intended to replace diesel multiple-unit trains in commuter and regional transport and reduce rail-related CO2 emissions to zero.
The H2goesRail project is being funded as part of Germany’s National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW GmbH) with €13.74m by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV).
The two-car Mireo Plus H has an operating range of up to 800km, and claims to be as powerful as its electric multiple-unit counterpart, and a top speed of 160km per hour. A three-car version has a range of up to 1,000km.
According to Siemens, the one key element needed to make hydrogen technology competitive with diesel fuel in daily operation is a fast refuelling process. To provide this, Deutsche Bahn developed a method that, for the first time, enables a hydrogen train to be refuelled as fast as a diesel-powered train. This is an especially important factor considering the closely timed scheduling of DB’s regional passenger service. The fast refuelling of hydrogen trains will make the technology competitive in daily operations.
“For Deutsche Bahn, hydrogen trains are an important component on our way to achieving climate neutrality,” said Dr Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, member of the management board for digitalisation and technology at Deutsche Bahn.
“With our development of the mobile hydrogen filling station and the related maintenance infrastructure, we are showing that we not only can do mobility, but technology as well.
“And exactly that is what is needed for providing the climate-friendly transport of tomorrow. Together with Siemens and the newly developed hydrogen train, we are creating an overall system which will take us another step towards phasing out diesel and enable the greening of the fleet.”
“For Deutsche Bahn, hydrogen trains are an important component on our way to achieving climate neutrality”
In its coalition agreement, the German federal government agreed to electrify 75 per cent of the country’s rail network by 2030. “Here, alternative drives can help reduce emissions from diesel rail transport,” said Michael Theurer, parliamentary state secretary in the BMDV.
“This way, we’ll be able to operate virtually climate-neutral on rail routes where full electrification is not possible. The H2goesRail project will not only test the use of hydrogen for rail, but substantially advance the technology.”
Hydrogen trains have a particularly climate-friendly drive technology, since it operates emission-free with green hydrogen and emits only water vapor. In the H2goesRail project, for example, the hydrogen train will save around 330 tons of CO2 in one year on the Tübingen-Pforzheim route, compared to a diesel-powered train. In general, the Mireo Plus H can save 520 tons a year depending on the route profile (calculated on mileage of 200,000km).
The hydrogen will be produced in Tübingen by DB using green electricity taken directly from the overhead power line. To service the train, the DB maintenance depot in Ulm will be equipped accordingly.
The Mireo Plus H will start testing in Baden-Württemberg in 2023. During its planned passenger service in 2024, the hydrogen train for the H2goesRail project with Deutsche Bahn will provide regular passenger service between Tübingen, Horb and Pforzheim and replace a diesel train.