Soon TERs that run on diesel will become scarce. SNCF announces in a press release that four regions have ordered the first TER Regiolis H2 trains capable of operating both in electric mode by catenary and in hydrogen when the tracks are not electrified.
The TER network does not always use tracks with an electricity supply. To respond to the problem, communities currently only have diesel-powered trainsets. The problem is that this energy is very polluting. And that the re-electrification of the tracks is too expensive.
SNCF wants to put an end to trains that run on diesel by switching to hydrogen
In fact, according to the SNCF, “Diesel represents […] still 26% of the energy consumed by TER and is responsible for 61% of their CO emissions2 “ of the firm. By converting its trainsets to hydrogen, SNCF can easily green its carbon footprint at a lower cost.
In all, between 12 and 14 hydrogen trains have been ordered by four pioneer regions: Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Grand Est, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes and Occitanie. Each region has ordered three trainsets – except the Grand Est which reserves the right to purchase two additional trainsets.
The trains will run on a fuel cell that sits on the roofs of the vehicles. This causes the hydrogen to react with the oxygen in the ambient air to generate electricity. This electricity is then stored in batteries and then used by the electric motors of the train. SNCF ensures that the only residue of this reaction is the formation of water.
It was the equipment manufacturer Alstom that obtained the contract. The latter has been working on hydrogen trains for some time. The manufacturer is also working with Plastic Omnium on storage solutions – one of the central issues for hydrogen because conventional storage solutions are not suitable for this type of energy.
Hydrogen is indeed highly explosive in the presence of oxygen. We must therefore find new ways of storing it that do not pose any problem for the safety of passengers. As for the calendar, according to Alstom, we should discover the first Regiolis H2 trainsets from 2022.
The Regiolis H2 will be able to carry 220 passengers, travel up to 160 km / h and will have a range of 600 km. The first hydrogen TER tests should take place by the end of 2023 or early 2024. The entry into service of TER trains ordered by the regions should not take place until the end of 2025.
Source: Hitechwiki – Kajal Gupta