Impact Clean Power Technology S.A., a leading supplier of battery systems for transport in Europe, together with H. Cegielski – Rail Vehicles Factory and Łukasiewicz Research Network – Poznan Institute of Technology, will participate in a research and development project on the use of hydrogen cells in railway vehicles. project to build a hydrogen cell for rail vehicles. A letter of intent to this effect was signed at the beginning of September this year in Poznan. All three entities already have practical experience with hydrogen solutions.
– ‚We already have more than 10 years of experience in providing hydrogen vehicle solutions around the world,‘ said Bartłomiej Kras, CEO of ICPT S.A. – We are looking at hydrogen as an energy carrier of the future. For it to become viable, it must be produced by electrolysers in renewable sources and the whole economy must be switched to hydrogen production and a support system. This means switching from natural gas to hydrogen, and this is a 10–15-year process. A joint project to develop and deploy a hydrogen cell could significantly accelerate the growth of this promising industry.
Last year, FPS Cegielski and Impact started work on a Polish hydrogen train based on the new ‚PLUS‘ platform. Impact’s UVES Energy GEN 2.0 batteries meet the requirements of the train’s manufacturer and, with a total capacity of 800kWh, will successfully provide 100 km of range on electricity alone. The vehicle was shown for the first time at last year’s TRAKO 2021 in Gdansk. The Łukasiewicz Research Network – Poznan Institute of Technology, on the other hand, has for many years been conducting innovative scientific research and development work in the field of new and modernised rolling stock, as well as development and simulation, stationary, and field tests on diverse types of rail vehicles, including work on a complete hydrogen vehicle control system.
Impact has been supplying its battery systems to rail platform suppliers such as Stadler and Siemens, among others, for many years. Hydrogen vehicles with Impact batteries are running in Europe and in Auckland, New Zealand, among others. The company has also completed its first deployments in the stationary traction market. As part of a consortium with Mysoft, Impact completed an energy storage project for PKP Energetyka, which was built near a railway passenger stop in Garbce in Lower Silesia.
– Now we want to apply our experience to the hydrogen fuel cell project – says Filip Jankun, Head of Sales at Impact. The company has been preparing for the hydrogen revolution for a long time and has been developing systems for hydrogen fuel cells, which will dominate the zero-emission vehicle market in the next 15 to 20 years.
When deciding to enter the rail market, Impact took many factors into account, including analyses of the cost-effectiveness of using trains with different propulsion systems. Thus, the Bloomberg NEF report, which compared the operating costs of the diverse types of propulsion for passenger trains, shows that in terms of cost, electric battery-powered propulsion is the most cost-effective, followed by diesel, then hydrogen cells and finally electric traction. However, it all depends on the route on which the unit will travel. And while for short routes battery trains are more advantageous to operate, for long routes the hydrogen propulsion system has an advantage over the others.
For Impact, the factor of reducing CO2 emissions is also important. In this case, there is no doubt that it is the hydrogen trains, which are completely emission-free, that will be the future of the green railway. The joint project with H. Cegielski – FPS and the Łukasiewicz Research Network fits perfectly into the philosophy of the new economic order, in which eliminating CO2 emissions has become a priority goal. It is estimated that by 2030, one in ten trains in Europe will be powered by hydrogen cells, and the value of this market will be around 20 bn EUR by that time.