Environmental measures 0 Environment and 100% green electricity To the Strong Rail strategy
Expansion of renewable energies in the traction current portfolio
Building a mixed portfolio for a secure energy supply while increasing the share of renewable energies under an economically sustainable general framework is a core element of our green strategy. This strategy continued to be consistently implemented in 2020 with the conclusion of new contracts.
By building a balanced and mixed renewable energy portfolio, we aim to spread the risk, ensure our ability to respond to market or regulatory changes, and take every opportunity to benefit from technological progress. In building this renewable energy portfolio, we take care to create a balanced mix with regard to energy sources, supply region, contractual partners, contractual terms, pricing and risk management.
In 2020, to begin with, three new renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs) were added to the package:
- PPA with Verbund AG to supply about 438 GWh p. a. from Egglfing-Obernberg hydroelectric power station no. 16 (on the German-Austrian border) during the period 2023 – 2027 (equivalent to about 6 % of the annual traction current needs of DB Group).
- PPA with Enerparc AG to supply about 80 GWh p. a. from Gaarz photovoltaic power station no. 30 (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) during the period 2021 – 2050 (equivalent to about 1 % of the annual traction current needs of DB).
- PPA with RWE to supply about 263 GWh p. a. of wind energy during the period 2024 – 2039 from Amrumbank West offshore wind farm no. 47 (equivalent to about 4 % of the annual traction current needs of DB Group).
These three new contracts alone provide a total CO₂ savings of up to 600,000 t CO₂ p. a. compared with supply from a coal-fired power plant.
Energy supply for alternative drives
In addition to further line electrification measures, DB Netze Energy is also implementing solutions to supply rolling stock with alternative drives. The aim is to provide climate-neutral rail operation as an alternative to diesel operation in future, even on sections without overhead lines. To this end, DB Netze Energy is pursuing various technological approaches. These range from supplying battery-powered trains with energy to providing hydrogen for fuel cell trains or alternative fuels for conventional diesel trains.
With regard to the supply of energy to battery-powered trains, initial appointments have been made to set up a corresponding recharging infrastructure in Schleswig-Holstein and Rhineland-Palatinate. Battery-powered trains in Schleswig-Holstein will be supplied with traction current via innovative overhead wire island systems for the first time at three locations from the end of 2023.
DB Netze Energy is constructing a hydrogen filling station in Frankfurt am Main as a pilot facility to supply our fuel cell road vehicles. This facility, which is designed not only to supply hydrogen but also to generate it on-site, is scheduled for completion in mid-2021. Since November 2020, DB Netze Energy has also been involved in a joint funded project between DB Group and Siemens Mobility to authorize and test the new fuel cell drive train developed by Siemens Mobility, Mireo Plus H, with an innovative hydrogen supply infrastructure no. 53. A study has been developed under the leadership of DB Netze Energy together with industry partners for the transport of hydrogen by rail. The essential feasibility of transporting hydrogen by rail in a climate-friendly way has been developed in this study.
DB Netze Energy is also supporting the testing of alternative fuels within DB Group. This includes a field test of the advanced TrainLab no. 159, in which C.A.R.E. Diesel© (made from 100 % hydrogenated vegetable oil/HVO from plant and waste residues) is supplied through a mobile tank container in Halle/Saale. The use of C.A.R.E. Diesel and R33 BlueDiesel (made from 33 % HVO and 7 % biodiesel) in the Sylt shuttle (various series) is also being tested. DB Netze Energy also supplied some DB Regional Baden-Württemberg diesel trains with R33 BlueDiesel through an existing rail filling station until the end of 2020.
Promoting climate-friendly rail transport
In September 2020, a letter of intent was agreed by the state of Thuringia and DB Group. It set out the intention to endeavor to electrify more lines on the rail network in Thuringia through overhead lines and to jointly prepare for and roll out the use of hydrogen fuel cell trains and battery-powered trains as soon as possible. Specifically, the intention is to execute a pilot project, subject to the requirements of procurement law, to convert the Schwarzatalbahn from Rottenbach to Katzhütte for the running of hydrogen fuel cell trains to be supplied with green hydrogen through a hydrogen filling station with an electrolyzer, which will be built as part of the project.