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Austria: EUR 3.1 Million in Funding for the Zillertalbahn HyTrain Project

By August 4, 2020 5   min read  (935 words)

August 4, 2020 |

Vienna — Ministry of Climate Protection supports the development of the world’s first hydrogen-powered narrow-gauge train with 3.1 million euros through the Climate and Energy Fund.

The “HyTrain” lighthouse project is to use Austrian know-how to develop the world’s first hydrogen-powered narrow-gauge train to market maturity. This includes the development of the hydrogen powertrain and the system for refueling the train with green hydrogen. A funding budget of 3.1 million euros is now available for the pilot project.

“HyTrain” researches high-performance train applications for the whole world. These include, for example, rapid transit trains. The hydrogen drive train is tested on the test bench of the Hydrogen Center Austria (HyCentA) and then used in real operation with an electric railcar from the Zillertal Railway. This pilot project aims to advance research in the field of hydrogen trains. Important experience is gained in the use of hydrogen trains to decarbonize public transport.

Climate protection minister Leonore Gewessler places great emphasis on public transport when the traffic is turning : “Green hydrogen is an exciting option for emission-free trains. Hydrogen is a particularly valuable energy source – we will have to use it exactly where we need it most. To do this, we are working on a hydrogen strategy in Austria and researching possible uses in transport with projects such as “HyTrain”. ”

“In” HyTrain “we see the use of green hydrogen in local transport and therefore in areas where large loads and range are on the requirements side. We also see the possibility of implementing an internationally visible demonstration project in the Zillertal, thereby creating competence and an excellent basis for green hydrogen applications “Made in Austria”. Against the backdrop of the recently published European hydrogen strategy, this is an important step for domestic H2 players, ”says Theresia Vogel, Managing Director of the Climate and Energy Fund .

“The research project” HyTrain “was born against this background and from our responsibility to check the feasibility of the hydrogen variant for the Zillertalbahn 2020+. The lack of references and standards for limiting the procurement risk for this pioneering technology led to the need to put together a multidisciplinary consortium of research, development, planning and operations. With a view to other interested parties from the branch line sector and the resource situation in the Zillertal, we submitted “HyTrain” to the climate and energy fund via the flagship region WIVA P&G (hydrogen initiative flagship region Austria Power & Gas), ”says Ernst Fleischhacker, Managing Director of the strategy and project development company FEN Sustain Systems GmbH (FEN Systems) based in Innsbruck.

With the R&D lighthouse project “HyTrain”, based on the state of research (Alstom Coradia iLint, which is currently being tested in Germany and the Netherlands), the world’s first hydrogen-powered narrow-gauge train with the corresponding hydrogen infrastructure (extraction, storage and refueling of green hydrogen) for heavy-duty train applications is to be developed become. “The hydrogen-electric train system is to be designed for high-performance train applications (S-Bahn operation with high acceleration capacity), simulated on the test bench of the HyCentA and tested on a train platform of the Zillertal Railway,” says Technical Director Helmut Schreiner of Zillertaler Verkehrsbetriebe AG.

“The system will be optimized based on the return results in the consortium and the results will be disseminated across the flagship region. This turns a multidisciplinary Austrian consortium into a central knowledge and implementation platform that can also use the project to set up technical, operational and commercial standards (STANDARDS) for the procurement of hydrogen train systems as part of the international brand and technology competition “Say the consortium partners Alexander Trattner from HyCentA and Joachim Wagner from Molinari.

“The importance of public transport will become more important in the future. For this, hydrogen as an energy source for a fuel cell will be an important alternative both on the road, by rail and on the water. This also applies to all heavy goods traffic. With the project” HyTrain “The Austrian competence for the development of complex total solutions for public transport is successfully bundled and demonstrated,” says Horst Steinmüller , chairman of the association WIVA P&G in Linz.

The “HyTrain” project is part of the flagship region Austria Power & Gas (WIVA P&G) and is being developed by the strategy and project development company FEN Sustain Systems GmbH (FEN Systems) with an Austrian consortium. The consortium partners are Zillertaler Verkehrsbetriebe AG (ZVB), HyCentA Research GmbH (HyCentA) in Graz, Molinari Rail Austria GmbH (MOLINARI) in Jenbach and WIVA P&G.

The “Flagship Region Energy” funding program and its WIVA P&G hydrogen initiative

In 2017, the Climate and Energy Fund launched a superlative RTI initiative with “Flagship Region Energy” . The declared goal is to develop and apply internationally competitive and innovative energy technologies in Austria in order to export them all over the world.

The climate and energy fund will be divided into three flagship regions: the Green Energy Lab, New Energy for Industry (NEFI) and the hydrogen initiative Vorzeigeregion Austria Invest Power & Gas (WIVA P&G). Together with the funds from the private sector, a total of more than 400 million euros are to flow into the resulting projects over the eight years until 2025.

The focus of WIVA P&G – hydrogen initiative flagship region Austria Power & Gas – is on the production and storage of green hydrogen, the chemical conversion to methane and the respective combustion and re-generation as part of the conversion of the Austrian economy to a 100% renewable energy system. Research projects within the scope of WIVA P&G deal with green energy, green mobility and green industry. A variety of different fields of application and processes are analyzed, implemented, further developed and demonstrated.

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