Tech & Science The first French hydrogen trains soon on the rails

16:35  08 april  2021
16:35  08 april  2021 Source:   parismatch.com

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The President of Alstom France Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud is considering the first essays on the way of hydrogen trains in France late 2023, and a priori a commercial commissioning in 2025.

  Les premiers trains à hydrogène français bientôt sur les rails © Endig Peter / DPA / ABACA

launched in Germany in 2018, the hydrogen train must finally start in France with the signing of a contract for 12 trains for four pioneering regions, the first tests being expected at the end of 2023. The SNCF has Past order of the first models in Alstom, on behalf of the Regions Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Grand East and Occitanie.

The President of Alstom France Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud is considering "the first trials on the end of 2023, and a priori a commercial commissioning in 2025". With nearly two years behind the initial ambitions of the government. "It's going to be a real demonstration, a real commercial service in every region", with "normal farm conditions", it promises to AFP. "Our goal is to make you want, show that it works," says Christophe Fanichet, the CEO of SNCF travelers.

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Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes has already indicated that the new trains would circulate between Saint-Etienne and Clermont-Ferrand, Burgundy-Franche-Comté on the side of Auxerre, and Occitanie on the line leading to Bagnères-de-Luchon (high -GAROND). Alstom is a pioneer on the hydrogen train, with a technology developed in its Tarbes plant. He circulated his first prototypes in Germany in 2018 and now entered an industrial phase, with 41 orders to date. The French group has also sold models in Italy. But where the German models are monomodes, functioning only with hydrogen, the French will be bimodes, also able to roll under catenary in electric traction. They will have an autonomy up to 600 km on the non-electrified lines.

These trains mix from the onboard and oxygen hydrogen present in the ambient air, thanks to a fuel cell installed in the roof that produces the electricity required for traction of the train. They only reject water vapor. "This is an additional step towards the + zero emission + in the rail transport," says Christophe Fanichet at AFP.

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Conversion of the TER

Alstom will concretely install a hydrogen traction chain on a proven model among the French ter (called Coradia versatile by the national manufacturer and regiolis by the SNCF): 72 meters long, these trains of four cars will offer 218 Seating "and the same dynamic performance and comfort as the electric-diesel bimode version", according to its promoters. The contract rises for Alstom to 190 million euros for 12 trains. It provides for the provision of three trains to each of the four pioneering regions, which could be added two in options for the Great East.

various costs increase the bill to 215 million for the regions, but a help of 47 million of the State reduces the price to 14 million per rage - which is to say that of a diesel-electric train in this category. "France has everything to become a champion of hydrogen: the government is fully committed to make this ambition a reality," said the Minister Delegate to Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebari, cited in a statement. The SNCF, a long time reluctant, ended up converting to hydrogen, now considered a good option to replace the diesel. It has been aimed at no longer using diesel in 2035.

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Beyond prototypes, the market seems promising, as nearly 1.100 ter are currently using diesel. The company also tests various formulas using "green" batteries and fuels like rapeseed. But it remains to be seen if the "gray" hydrogen can be used (manufactured with processes using fossil energies, so pollutants) before switching to the "green" hydrogen (from renewable energies - by Electrolysis of water-- Really clean but much more expensive), for which France is not ready. It will also be necessary to provide channels for feeding trains.

Another potential difficulty: the type of train that must be adapted to hydrogen is manufactured by the Alsatian site of Reichshoffen. Now, Alstom is committed to giving up the factory and the train to a competitor to get Brussels' green light on his redemption from Bombardier Transport. Hence the necessary placement of a mechanism associating the future buyer. Alstom is in exclusive negotiation until the end of April with the Czech Skoda group.

Burying the lede .
Good morning, early birds. Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith allegedly buried USB sticks filled with damning photographs and evidence of potential war crimes, and Scott Morrison has claimed there are too many uncertainties at play for the government to outline a new COVID-19 vaccination schedule. It's the news you need to know, with Chris Woods.The cache shows an Australian soldier placing two military souvenir coins over the eyes of a killed Afghani man — credible evidence of the war crime of desecrating a corpse, former defence force chief Chris Barrie says — as well as several damning photographs from the unauthorised “Fat Ladies Arms” bar in Tarin Kowt, southern Afghanistan, including: a soldier

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