A strategic partnership to switch locomotives from diesel to hydrogen has been signed between HDF Energy (Hydrogène de France), a manufacturer of high-power fuel cells, and Digas, an expert in the modernisation of rail traction units.
To support this partnership, HDF has also bought a minority stake in Digas.
This partnership aims to design and develop carbon-free hydrogen locomotives as a viable alternative to polluting diesel locomotives. HDF Energy will provide its expertise in the development of hydrogen fuelling infrastructure based on 10 years of technical experience. HDF already has a first experience in the railway sector in France, through the HyShunt project carried out with Captrain, a subsidiary of the state-owned railway operator SNCF, to develop the first hydrogen-powered shunting locomotive.
Headquartered in Latvia, Digas has 15 years of engineering, certification and implementation experience in the modernisation of all types of heavy-duty vehicles, with a specialisation in the locomotive sector.
Switching locomotives from diesel to hydrogen, a solution for rail freight
Together, HDF and Digas will contribute to the rapid transition to hydrogen fuelling in the rail sector, according to a press release issued in Bordeaux.
“We are delighted to partner with Digas, including investing in the company as a shareholder. Thanks to its extensive experience, Digas has already demonstrated its technical leadership in the design, management and implementation of complex diesel locomotive modernisation projects across Europe. By bringing together HDF’s 10 years of experience in hydrogen projects, we will be able to offer the rail freight market competitive carbon-free locomotive retrofit solutions, thanks to hydrogen,” said Damien Harvard, founder and president of HDF Energy.
“We are very excited about this partnership with HDF Energy and to welcome them as a shareholder. After reviewing companies we could partner with in the hydrogen space, HDF Energy stood out thanks to 10 years of hands-on technical experience. Together, we will be able to serve the rail freight market by offering a long-awaited instant decarbonisation solution for the non-electrified part of the sector,” said Petro Dumenko, founder and president of Digas.