The new freight train is set to be powered by electricity from the rail network, and hydrogen in non-electrified sections of track, to ensure the transport of Nestlé’s VITTEL® natural mineral water between its factory in Vosges, France, and various distribution centres across the country.

Developed by Alstom, the train will compose a generator wagon incorporating a high-power fuel cell system, powered by renewable hydrogen supplied by ENGIE, and a line-electric locomotive, connected by an electrical power cable.

H2 View understands, Nestlé Waters will be the first company to benefit from the hydrogen fuel cell solution for rail freight, building off a partnership between Alstom and ENGIE, announced in April (2022).

Read more: Alstom, ENGINE to cooperate on developing a hydrogen fuel cell system and refuelling solution for rail applications

Sophie Dubois, CEO of Nestlé Wates France, commented, “We are very proud of this project as it represents a significant investment by our railway team to find innovative solutions to answer to climate and environmental challenge. This collaboration with Alstom and ENGIE will accelerate the development of a decarbonised/carbon-free supply chain.”

In September (2022), Alstom’s hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint train covered 1,175km (730 miles) from Bremervöde, Lower Saxony, Germany, through Hesse to Bavaria, before finally coming to a stop in Munich, on one tank of fuel.

Read more: Hydrogen-powered train makes 1,175km run across Germany without refuelling

“Alstom has been a pioneer in hydrogen trains by developing the first hydrogen train in commercial operation worldwide,” said Marc Granger, Chief Strategy Officer at Alstom.

Granger continued, “”Our ambition is to accelerate the adoption of hydrogen in the rail industry and to develop innovative solutions for the greening of mass mobility, including rail freight. Therefore, we are looking forward to the first circulation of a freight locomotive powered by renewable hydrogen in 2025.”

Sébastien Arbola, Executive Vice-President, Thermal Generation, Hydrogen & Energy Supply at ENGIE, said, “Following the announcement of our partnership with Alstom to supply hydrogen to this new European rail decarbonisation solution, Nestlé Waters becomes the first prime contractors for our offer, and the first future user of our solution.

“This is a key step in the development of this project. Hydrogen plays an essential role in the transition of industrial companies towards reducing their emissions, a dynamic in which ENGIE is fully involved.”


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