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Italian and German trains hitch up to hydrogen bandwagon

(EurActiv, 30 Nov 2020) Rail operators in Italy and Germany are turning to hydrogen power in an attempt to make their train networks more environmentally friendly, with Deutsche Bahn, partnering up with Siemens, among the trailblazers.

Regional operator Ferrovie Nord Milano, the second largest train company in Italy, announced last week (26 November) that it has ordered six hydrogen-fuelled trains from French manufacturer Alstom, in an investment worth more than €160 million.

Due to enter service in 2023, the trains will replace diesel locomotives on the 100km-long line between Brescia and Iseo, which is not electrified. The trains will be built by Alstom in Italy.

Ferrovie Nord Milano intends to fuel the trains using hydrogen produced from steam methane reforming with carbon-capture systems attached – so-called ‘blue hydrogen’ – at a refuelling depot that should be built by 2023. The final plan is still under review.

The firm could also eventually deploy renewable energy to produce ‘green hydrogen’ and added in a statement that the fuel could also be used to power its bus fleet and by third-party logistic companies.

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EurActiv, 30 Nov 2020: Italian and German trains hitch up to hydrogen bandwagon