Hydrogène de France and Captrain France (a subsidiary of SNCF) have signed a partnership agreement for the development of hydrogen locomotives in order to provide a decarbonisation solution for French and European rail freight.
The first step in the collaboration between HDF Energy and Captrain will be the launch of the HyShunt project: a retrofit project of a locomotive currently powered by a diesel engine. With a power of about 700 kW, this locomotive will be retrofitted with a decarbonised electric propulsion system powered by green or low-carbon hydrogen, via a high-powered fuel cell system manufactured and integrated by HDF Energy.
Rail freight accounts for only 9% of goods transported in France, compared to 17.3% in the European Union. The French government wishes to revitalise this mode of transport, which is less polluting and less dangerous than road transport. The project aims to demonstrate that retrofitting a locomotive can achieve strong decarbonisation objectives for rail freight.
This project will also enable HDF Energy to develop high-powered fuel cell systems dedicated to rail mobility. The complementary nature of the two partners in the project enhances French industrial know-how in the service of decarbonising freight transport. Lastly, HyShunt is helping to create a new sector of expertise and associated jobs.
This first French hydrogen shunting locomotive is part of the hydrogen ecosystem being developed in Moselle in the Grand-Est region. This locomotive retrofit project will also be part of the Grande Région Hydrogen initiative, the first cross-border Hydrogen Valley, involving French, German and Luxembourgish industrial partners. The high-power fuel cell will be produced in the future HDF Energy plant in Blanquefort which will be operational in 2023.
HDF Energy develops two types of Hydrogen-Power plants:
- Renewstable® (POWER TO POWER): Multi-megawatt power plants producing stable electricity 24h/day, composed of an intermittent renewable source and on-site hydrogen energy storage.
- HyPower® (GAS TO POWER): Multi-megawatt power plants producing electricity on demand from green hydrogen from gas transportation networks.
Damien Havard, Chairman and CEO of HDF Energy, said, “In our strategic roadmap, we announced our ambition to seize opportunities to accelerate the development of the hydrogen industry worldwide.”
Stéphane Derlincourt, President of Captrain France, said, “This locomotive will be completely innovative and equipped with future-oriented technology. Thanks to it, no more greenhouse gases, which are harmful to our health and our planet.”