Supplying hydrogen for fuel cell trains

An emission-free future

In December 2022, RMV, the public transit authority for the Rhine-Main Region, started replacing diesel-powered locomotives with fuel cell trains to enable climate-friendly commuting. Some have already hit the tracks in the Taunus rail system. In the course of 2023, all of the 27 fuel cell trains will then be put into operation successively and used on the RB 11, 12, 15 and 16 regional rail lines.

Infraserv Höchst has built the requisite filling infrastructure at Industriepark Höchst and will supply the hydrogen for these trains.

The first fuel cell train was presented in November 2022 by RMV together with Volker Wissing, German Federal Minister for Transport; Jens Deutschendorf, Parliamentary State Secretary; Ulrich Krebs, Chief Administrative Officer of Hochtaunus County and Deputy Chairman of the RMV Supervisory Board; Wolfgang Siefert, Head of Mobility for the City of Frankfurt; Evelyn Palla, Deutsche Bahn Board Member; Müslüm Yakisan, President of Alstom’s DACH Region; and Joachim Kreysing, Managing Director of Infraserv Höchst. After the train was presented at the Deutsche Bahn workshop in Griesheim, it was taken on a test drive to Industriepark Höchst to Infraserv Höchst’s new hydrogen filling station.

Fuel cell trains represent an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional diesel motor coaches, which are currently used on non-electrified lines in regional transit. Fuel cell drives generate no local emissions, in contrast to conventional diesel motor coaches.

Key figures about fuel cell traction units

  • Number of vehicles in the fuel cell traction unit fleet: 24 + 3 reserve
  • Tank size per fuel cell traction unit: 2 x 130 kg
  • Number of fuel cell traction units refueled each day: approx. 14

Information on supplying hydrogen for fuel cell trains

The local emission-free trains have a hydrogen tank and a fuel cell on the roof. The fuel cell converts hydrogen and air into water, which generates electricity. This, in turn, charges the on-board lithium batteries and drives the electric motor.

The exhaust emits water vapor instead of CO2 and other combustion gases. The train also carries a battery that temporarily stores the electrical energy generated on board and recovers braking energy. The trains travel around 1,000 kilometers on a full tank of fuel and can reach speeds of up to 140 kilometers per hour.

  • Length over coupling faces: 54.27 m
  • Top speed: 140 km/h (87 mph)
  • Seats: ca. 160
  • Hydrogen tank systems per vehicle: 2
  • Capacity per tank system: approx. 130 kg each
  • Nominal pressure hydrogen tank: 350 bar
  • Traction unit range: 1,000 km

Infraserv Höchst will build compressors, storage tanks and fueling stations at Industriepark Höchst to supply hydrogen for the fuel cell traction units.

  • The hydrogen is compressed with redundantly designed diaphragm compressors and a pressure increase from approx. 6 bar to as much as 550 bar.
  • Gas is stored in high-pressure storage modules at a pressure of up to 590 bar with a hydrogen storage capacity of more than 4,000 kg.
  • Refueling will be done on three new tracks (total length: about 900 meters) at Industriepark Höchst.
  • Fueling stations, with two filling lines each, will be built at the tracks.
  • Hydrogen is supplied to the fueling station from specially built chlor-alkali and PEM electrolyzers with a total electrical capacity of 5 MW.