NPROXX has delivered the first units of an innovative new hydrogen storage system designed for passenger trains to train manufacturer Siemens Mobility GmbH in Germany. The tank systems and related technologies are used by Siemens Mobility in the prototypes of a new hydrogen-powered passenger train, as a part of its no-fossil-fuels Mireo train platform.
Initially, the trains will be trialled extensively at Siemens Mobility’s test facility at Wildenrath, Germany. These tests are likely to last throughout 2022, with the aim of the project to have hydrogen-powered passenger trains in service with the operator, Deutsche Bahn AG, in early 2023, on specific routes in south-west Germany.
The train carriages are a completely new design, rather than a retrofit, which NPROXX has worked collaboratively with Siemens Mobility on through every step. “Together we have found a very elegant way of designing a hydrogen storage system which has the same expected lifecycle as the train carriage itself,” explains Johannes Lorenz, NPROXX’s Director of Marketing and Sales.
“Our storage system is designed so that there is plenty of room for Siemens Mobility to optimise the passenger environment and provide a comfortable and spacious travel experience. Generally, commuter trains in continental Europe have drivetrains integrated into every carriage, and this is also the case in our design. The lightweight hydrogen storage system is sited on the roof of the carriage. Even when fully loaded with hydrogen gas and passengers, the loads are well within acceptable limits.”
“There have been many design challenges to overcome during the three-year design cycle, from wiring to filling,” continues Lorenz. “Filling from above is fast but impractical, so we designed a way to fill from the side that is just as effective and quick. In a two-carriage train, with tanks on both carriages, both sets of tanks are independent but feed to the same fuel cell. Our design uses four independent racks mounted on the train fed by two connecting points. Optimising all the different requirements has been a very integrative design experience.”
The Mireo Platform
The Siemens Mobility Mireo platform is a new rail system that operates completely without combustion engines. Mireo already includes battery electric vehicles, and now Siemens Mobility is working with NPROXX to develop a hydrogen-fuel-cell electric version as well. Depending on the profile of schedules, distances and various elevations on train routes, train operators of the future will be able to choose Mireo vehicles to suit their needs, either battery- or hydrogen-driven.