ALSTOM has announced that it will join Engie to develop hydrogen propulsion for long-haul freight transport, based on a fuel cell-equipped generator car that can power electric locomotives away from a catenary. It is reported by Railway Supply magazine with reference to IRJ.


The new system, due to enter service in 2025, will power freight trains for mineral water supplier Nestlé Waters and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 10,000 tons per year compared to diesel traction.

Alstom says the generator car will be equipped with a powerful fuel cell system powered by renewable hydrogen. It will generate current, which will be fed to the electric locomotive through the power cable, which will allow it to operate without an overhead power line.

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The generator car will be able to provide all the power needed by the main electric locomotive for towing freight trains on non-electrified routes. Alstom says it will be a 100% electric alternative to diesel power, including for last mile freight transport, and will be suitable for national and European operations.

“We are very proud of this project as it represents a significant contribution by our railway team to finding innovative solutions to climate and environmental challenges. Our goal is to accelerate the adoption of hydrogen in the rail industry and develop innovative solutions for greening public transport, including rail freight,” says Mark Grainger, Chief Strategy Officer, Alstom.

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