Alstom to develop a hydrogen solution for rail freight transport

hydrogen solution for rail freightAlstom and Engie will develop a hydrogen solution for rail freight with the propose to operate the first hydrogen-powered freight train from the Nestlé Waters’ Vosges plant, thanks to a hydrogen generator wagon system developed by Alstom and supplied with renewable hydrogen by Engie, from 2025.

In line with its supply chain decarbonisation roadmap, Nestlé Waters will be the first company in Europe using the first hydrogen-powered freight train. It is estimated that this project will reduce emissions by 10’000 tonnes of COequivalent per year, in the long term, i.e. the reduction of 90% of its current emissions. This is the equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 30’000 round trips on Paris – Nice car route.

As a significant innovation, the new hydrogen solution will be developed from a high-powered fuel cell system that can power electric locomotives in non-electrified areas. This solution will be able to transport goods over long distances, on a national and European scale.

From 2025, this freight train powered by electricity from the rail network and from hydrogen in non-electrified sectors will aim to progressively ensure the transport of Vittel natural mineral water between the factory located in the Vosges and its various distribution centers in France such as the 600 km Vittel – Arles and the 760 km Vittel – Montreuil-Bellay routes.

The dual-mode solution will be composed by a generator wagon incorporating a high-power fuel cell system powered by renewable hydrogen and a line-electric locomotive, all connected by an electrical power cable. The generating wagon will be able to supply the locomotive with electricity in the without the need for any catenary.

This solution aims to replace the diesel-powered locomotives, currently used on most lines in France and most European countries.

The high-power hydrogen fuel cell system developed by Alstom will power electric locomotives in non-electrified areas and offer a 100% electric solution for rail freight, end-to-end, including to the first and last kilometers, which are rarely electrified.

This innovative hydrogen solution for rail freight will make it possible to carry out all cargo journeys with the same electric locomotive, powered by the catenary on electrified main lines and by the hydrogen generator wagon in non-electrified areas.

In terms of performance, the solution will provide all the power of a catenary-based mainline electric locomotive and enough power with hydrogen energy to pull a freight train over non-electrified line segments.

Engie will supply the renewable hydrogen for this solution through the deployment of an innovative supply chain.

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