A pilot project in Namibia to develop a hydrogen-diesel locomotive has been selected for funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. It is reported by Railway Supply magazine with reference to RailTech.

hydrogen train
Picture: CMB.TECH

The project, called HyRail Namibia, is expected to be completed in 18 months. The consortium will be led by Hyphen Technical, which aims to develop technology to use hydrogen as a fuel for rolling stock and other commercial vehicles. Two traditional diesel-electric locomotives will be converted to use hydrogen in internal combustion engines using hydrogen technology developed by CMB.TECH over two decades. A hydrogen fuel storage car will also be developed to store fuel for locomotives.

The locomotive will run on Namibian green hydrogen provided by Cleanergy Solutions Namibia, which is building a green hydrogen plant near Walvis Bay. The prototypes will be built and adapted at the Traxtion railway hub in Rosslyn, South Africa, before being transported to Walvis Bay for operation by TransNamib. The maintenance of the locomotives will be carried out in Namibia by Traxtion, who will also train TransNamib’s maintenance staff. As part of this project, TransNamib will become the first state-owned railway in Africa to operate hydrogen-powered locomotives. The aim of the pilot is to pave the way for the conversion of the entire fleet of locomotives in Namibia in the future.

Akku Flirt presented at Innotrans

In total, hydrogen locomotive projects will cost 7.6 million euros. It is not reported how much money the project will receive. A total of four pilot projects are partly funded by part of a €30 million grant funding provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Calculations show that Namibia has optimal conditions for the production of wind and solar energy, and hence for the production of green hydrogen. Namibia aims to export green hydrogen by 2025.

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