Alstom and MOL from Hungary agree on joint research into the use of hydrogen for rail transport

Alstom and MOL, Hungary’s largest oil and gas company, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in reviewing the use of hydrogen technology in rail transport.

MOL Group currently produces and uses nearly 150,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year. By signing the MoU, Alstom and MOL have taken a step towards decarbonising the Hungarian rail transport network. Alstom will play a key role in the initiative by supplying green alternative fuels.

At the COP26 in Glasgow, countries agreed to step up their actions to limit global warming and keep it below a target of 2 degrees. By 2030, the EU aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990, and by 2050, it aims to achieve net zero emissions.

Hungary intends to play a leading role in the transition to net zero. As part of its national hydrogen strategy, the country has studied the feasibility of introducing hydrogen technology in rail transport.

Hydrogen trains are an emission-free alternative for non-electrified roads. Alstom produced the world’s first hydrogen train, the Coradia iLint, for the German market in September 2018. Since then, they have traveled more than 200,000 km with zero CO2 emissions in passenger service in Germany and Austria, and have tested successfully trains in the Netherlands. . Alstom’s hydrogen technology was also bought by SNCF in France and FNM in Italy.

Credit: Alstom

Gaspar Balazs, Managing Director and CEO of Alstom in Hungary, said: “By building the world’s first hydrogen train Coradia iLint, Alstom has proven that hydrogen trains are a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative propulsion technology. . With this MoU, we aim to share our experience in hydrogen technology and help Hungary open a new chapter in its rail transport: the era of net zero. From experience, we know that hydrogen trains are a reliable, clean and economical solution for the rail industry.

Gabriel Szabó, Managing Director of MOL Group Downstream, said: “The MOL Group is committed to sustainability and the key strategic objective of the company is to become carbon neutral by 2050. We currently produce around 150 000 tonnes of hydrogen per year, so we have a wealth of experience in using this energy source for industrial purposes. The time has come to produce hydrogen at a lower carbon intensity in line with the regulatory environment and consumer expectations, but also to capitalize on our knowledge in the field of mobility.

“As the largest fuel supplier to the Hungarian rail industry, we are delighted to partner with Alstom. This cooperation will allow us to explore the potential of hydrogen supply and the development of associated infrastructure in one of the most sustainable mobility services, rail transport.

Coradia iLint hydrogen trains are actually electric trains with a hydrogen fuel cell to generate electricity on board. Hydrogen is the main source of energy for the train. The oxygen extracted from the air is combined with the hydrogen inside the fuel cell to produce all of the electricity for the train. A battery is used to store braking energy, increase acceleration, and provide auxiliary power.

The only emission from a hydrogen train is water, and it does not emit any harmful particles or gases. Trains require hydrogen refueling stations. To put in place the required infrastructure, Alstom cooperates with oil and gas companies, such as Linde in Germany and Orlen in Poland.

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