[DE] Ballard and Siemens develop fuel cell traction system for the Mireo [updated]

On 14.11.2017 Ballard Power Systems announced that it has signed a development agreement with Siemens for the development of a zero-emission fuel cell engine to power Siemens’ Mireo light rail train. The Development Agreement has a contemplated value of approximately $9.0 million to Ballard.

Under the terms of the Development Agreement, Ballard will develop a 200 kilowatt fuel caption cell engine for integration into Siemens’ new Mireo train platform. Mireo is a modular commuter train platform designed for speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour). Thanks to lightweight design, energy-efficient components and intelligent onboard network management, the Mireo will consume up to 25% less energy than trains with similar passenger capacity. Initial deployments of the fuel cell-powered Mireo train are planned for 2021.

Update 26.02.2018

Siemens releases the new that the German Federal Ministry for Transportation and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) will support the manufacturer and RWTH Aachen with project funding of roughly €12 million as part of the Ministry’s “National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Program”. The program will be coordinated by the National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW GmbH).

The long-term goal of the cooperation is to develop a modular and scalable traction system with fuel cells that will be integrated into the Mireo train platform. With such a system, the Mireo can flexibly operate in various ways – battery-electric as well as on routes without overhead lines – with the help of hydrogen-fueled trains. The fuel cell technology is to be ready for service by 2021, and its integration in additional vehicle platforms will follow.

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Railcolor comment

Alstom, which is now forming a new a combined group with Siemens, was the first to develop a fuel cell train. The first prototypes are on test now and a first order was announced last week. This iLint has fuel cells made by Hydrogenics. Ballard has been working with CRRC (CSR Qingdao Sifang) on developing a fuel cell light rail vehicle.

Currently, Siemens has two orders for its new Mireo platform train, which is currently under development:

For both contracts, DB Regio will be the operator responsible for passenger services.