Alstom orders batteries for fuel cell trains from Akasol
Akasol will supply battery systems for more than 40 hydrogen trains of the type Alstom Coradia iLint, which were ordered from Alstom by the regional public transport company of Lower Saxony and the Rhine-Main transport association.
With this significant order, worth a low double-digit million euro amount, Akasol has also expanded in the field of fuel cell drives, thus broadening its customer base, the company now announces. In 2021, all battery systems (battery systems, heating and cooling units, cables and underfloor enclosures) are to be delivered and the first units of the “AKA system AKM POC” are to be handed over to Alstom in the second half of 2020.
In the trains, the batteries supply, among other things, on-board systems such as lighting and air-conditioning, but their main task is in the propulsion system. The electrical energy generated during braking is temporarily stored in Akasol’s systems and then released to the electric motors during acceleration. Each Coradia iLint is equipped with two battery systems with a total capacity of 220 kWh.
When braking to bring an entire train to a halt, the batteries must be able to absorb a lot of power within a short time. According to Akasol, the battery systems for the H2 train are designed for a charging capacity of 3C and high cycle stability. According to the company, based in Darmstadt, Germany, it has been working on traction batteries for trains for more than ten years. “The series order from Alstom is the result of a joint intensive and successful cooperation in which we were able to use our know-how in alternative drive technology for rail vehicles in a targeted manner from the test phase to the official approval of the Coradia iLint and to further develop it with our partner according to its specific requirements,” says Akasol CEO Sven Schulz.
According to the manufacturer, the battery system is not only suitable for use in fuel cell trains, but also pure battery operation. Local trains on non-electrified lines could be partially recharged at stops with high charging capacity. This technology is currently being developed “together with major train manufacturers in Germany, Europe, the USA and Asia”, as Akasol writes in the press release. About 40 per cent of the German rail network has no overhead line.
Given the major customer Alstom with the H2 train, however, the two companies also emphasise that they see the hydrogen fuel cell-based drive system as a further “important impulse generator” on the way to an emission-free transport system, in addition to pure electric mobility.