TÜV Rheinland InterTraffic has been commissioned to develop a standard for hydrogen applications in rail vehicles. Until now, authorities have had to rely on technical regulations and standards from the automotive industry for conformity assessments.
The client is the German Center for Rail Transport Research under the German Federal Railway Authority’s umbrella. The project will run for twelve months. During this time, TÜV experts are to draw up specific regulations and standards to approve hydrogen-powered rail vehicles. The goal is to facilitate hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and simplify the approval process, TÜV states.
In the first step, the technicians will review all relevant national and international regulations and standards applicable to hydrogen vehicles and fuel cell systems with a view to the rail sectors.
The second step is to develop a draft for a railway-specific standard to facilitate hydrogen and fuel cell technologies to strengthen alternative drives in rail transport. While countries like Switzerland have a largely electrified rail system, Germany’s network still relies on diesel on about 40 per cent of routes as modernisation is slow. In the UK, only about 42% of the rail network is electrified.
The development of standards is also necessary because alternative drive systems are increasingly being tested on the rail tracks. Examples of newly developed FC trains are Alstom’s Cordia iLint model. Trials have been running in Germany, Italy, Austria and the UK as well as the Netherlands. There, Alstom and Groningen’s transport operator already found hydrogen trains a viable alternative to entirely replace diesel locomotives in an October trial.
To develop appropriate fuel cell trains’ standards, TÜV intends to put together an interdisciplinary team for the task. It will include experts from the so-called hydrogen competence team of the globally active testing service provider.