Recently spun off Siemens Energy and the industrial conglomerate’s Siemens Mobility unit have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop ‘holistic hydrogen solutions for rail transport’ for customers trying to decarbonise the mobility sector in Germany and Europe.

The two companies plan to jointly develop standardised hydrogen infrastructure solutions for fuelling hydrogen-powered trains of Siemens Mobility.

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“This way, we can support our customers in replacing their diesel-powered trains operating on non-electrified rail lines with emission-free hydrogen-powered trains over the longer term,” said Albrecht Neumann, chief executive of rolling stock at Siemens Mobility.

“Together with Siemens Energy, we can even offer hydrogen as a ‘hydrogen as a service’ model for a train’s service life.”

Over the next 20 years, thousands of diesel-electric multiple-unit trains are to be successively replaced by more environmentally-friendly alternatives in Europe. In Germany, for example, non-electrified routes account for about half of the country’s rail network.

Battery or hydrogen drives are used as a replacement for diesel units.

Since its stock listing last week, Siemens Energy is no longer part of the Siemens Group, but former parent Siemens AGE owns two thirds of Siemens Energy.

“The decarbonisation of energy systems is a central goal of Siemens Energy. So-called sector coupling plays a key role here – interconnecting previously separate energy-relevant sectors such as electricity and heat generation or mobility,” said Armin Schnettler, executive vice president New Energy Business at Siemens Energy.

“This can be achieved – completely CO2-free – with the electrolysis of water using electricity produced from renewable energy sources.”

Siemens Energy produces solutions for the generation and distribution of green hydrogen, while Siemens Mobility is producing rail transport solutions, including train maintenance and depot equipment. The unit is also developing a hydrogen-powered version of its Siemens Mireo light rail train, which is expected to be deployed from late next year on.

A hydrogen-powered train by French rival Alstom, the iLint, is already running regularly in Germany, and being tested in the Netherlands.