31 Aug 2021 13:02

Siemens, Russian Railways in talks on supplies of Mireo hydrogen commuter trains

MOSCOW. Aug 31 (Interfax) - Siemens is in talks with Russian Railways (RZD) on supplies of hydrogen-fueled passenger trains, the German company's president in Russia, Alexander Liberov said.

Siemens is developing such a train, the Mireo Plus H platform, and it is planning trial runs of the train on a pilot section of railway with Deutsche Bahn in 2024, Liberov told reporters on the sidelines of the Pro//Motion.Expo railway exhibition.

"I spoke with the management of RZD. We agreed to consider this subject," he said. "The subject of hydrogen is probably for 'tomorrow,' but some time will be needed for development and creating the infrastructure, and Siemens has a complete solution for the whole cycle, from generation to transportation, storage of hydrogen, fuelling and, naturally, the train itself. Here we already have active work underway between Siemens Energy and Siemens Mobility," Liberov said, adding that the company is prepared to "discuss [this issue] in detail" with RZD.

"In general, I see hydrogen as an interesting type of energy in combination with storage systems. The storage systems alone are fairly complex due to temperature regimes. After all, we have fairly big fluctuations between plus 40 and minus 40 degrees, and low temperatures [are bad] for batteries," Liberov said.

Siemens and RZD are discussing using such trains on sections of railway with no electrification, he said. "In Russia, there are quite a few of them and, of course, in future this is a possibility to replace diesel locomotives and trains with hydrogen ones," he said.

"It's clear that it's just economically impossible to electrify absolutely everything in a short period, so the subject of hydrogen is being actively discussed now not only as applies to railway transport, but also in general as a source of energy," Liberov said.

RZD has not yet specified exactly what equipment it needs, he said. "There are a lot of discussions right now, working out a global concept. Some maturation is taking place, like with digital technologies at one time - they talked and talked and then there was a breakthrough," Liberov said, adding that "this is not just an issue of the railway, it can't be solved in isolation."

"There needs to be a government policy in this area, a whole group of regions for solving the problems of producing hydrogen, storing it, transporting. As far as I know, this subject is being actively discussed in the Russian government, a working group has been formed. We, as a technology partner, are prepared to supply, we already have ready technologies, but going forward it will be the decision of the customer, based on needs," Liberov said.

He also did not rule out the possibility of localizing production in Russia. "We have a plant in Yekaterinburg, so I don't see any obstacles to setting up production of hydrogen fuel passenger trains [there]," Liberov said, referring to Siemens' Ural Locomotives joint venture with Dmitry Pumpyansky's Sinara Group.