Czech Republic to test hydrogen trains between Usti nad Labem and Liberec

Alstom Coradia iLint. Credit: AlstomAlstom Coradia iLint. Credit: Alstom

A study will address the use of hydrogen trains on a total of sixteen different lines.

The Czech Republic has set up a pilot project to systematically address the possibility of employing hydrogen-powered trains on non-electrified lines.

Several organizations, such as the Railway Research Institute VUZ and Sintef from Norway, are involved in the project called Regional Hydrogen Trains on Czech Railroads led by the Nuclear Research Institute UJV Rez. It is financed by Norway grants under the KAPPA program.

The project will examine the possibility of deploying hydrogen technology on a total of sixteen lines in the Czech Republic. As part of a techno-economic analysis, they are to compare whether hydrogen propulsion would be a technical, economic and environmental solution compared to other types of propulsion.

The pilot analysis will take place on the line from Usti nad Labem to Liberec via Decin and Ceska Lipa. One of the arguments for the use of such a propulsion system from Usti nad Labem is the fact that this is where the largest hydrogen production facility is located.

The proposition of the lines is the responsibility of VUZ. As part of the proposal, options of several interconnecting lines were also assessed across different regions within the Czech Republic. The list of sixteen lines selected for assessment includes non-electrified stretches with fast train services. These include connections between Liberec – Prague – Ceske Budejovice (via Pribram), Trutnov – Pardubice – Jihlava – Slavonice or Ostrava – Krnov – Jesenik – Zabreh.

Martin Belcik, Chairman of the Board of Directors of VUZ, said that key issues related to the infrastructure, e.g. locations for replenishment or maintenance, must be addressed. “Hydrogen is an economically interesting alternative to diesel in the current situation of rising electricity prices. It makes connecting electrified and non-electrified lines possible in the future. With a suitably selected network of filling stations, hydrogen can be an emergency propulsion solution in the event of a widespread power grid failure after a significant reduction in diesel operation,” Belcik said.

Alstom’s iLint hydrogen unit has already been tested on the VUZ test ring in the past and should be introduced in the Czech Republic in the first half of 2022. The high price of hydrogen trains compared to other types of propulsion speaks against their introduction. According to VUZ, the development of this technology on railroads can be expected in the context of the EU’s 2030 targets.

Proposed lines for the analysis of the possible use of hydrogen trains
Kolín – Nymburk – Mladá Boleslav – Česká Lípa – Nový Bor (119 km) – Rumburk (152 km) – Šluknov (162 km)
Prague – Neratovice – Mladá Boleslav – Turnov – Liberec (134 km)
Pardubice – Jaroměř – Železný Brod – Turnov – Liberec – 161 km
Ústí nad Labem – Decin – Česká Lípa – Liberec – 113 km
Prague – Zdice – Březnice – Písek – České Budějovice – 187 km
Olomouc – Krnov – Opava East – Ostrava – 149 km
Brno – Okříšky – Jihlava – 104 km
Plzeň – Žatec – Chomutov – Most – 157 km
Zábřeh na Moravě – Jeseník (66 km) – Krnov (123 km)
Kolín – Chlumec n. C. – Stará Paka – Trutnov – 134 km
Pardubice – Hradec Králové – Jaroměř – Starkoč – Trutnov – Svoboda nad Úpou (101 km)
Havlíčkův Brod – Jihlava – Kostelec u Jihlavy – Slavonice (95 km)
Pardubice – Chrudim – Žďárec u Skutče – Havlíčkův Brod (94 km)
Tábor – Písek (60 km) – Strakonice (82 km)
Prague – Kladno – Rakovník (73 km)
Prague – Vrané n. Vltavou – Čerčany (60 km) or Dobříš (55 km)


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