Rail Re-Profiling locomotive

Powered by hydrogen for the first time

Linsinger Maschinenbau GmbH scores with an innovation: a rail milling train that runs on hydrogen and therefore operates with zero emissions. Hexagon Purus GmbH equipped the locomotive with its proven Hydrogen Fuel Storage System.

Emission-free driving is the future - it is the only way we can effectively combat climate change and achieve the climate targets that have been set. Linsinger Maschinenbau GmbH also wants to be part of the energy transition and make an active contribution for future generations. The first step in this direction has already been taken: With the world's first emissions free rail reprofiling locomotive. Like its predecessors, this rail milling train reprofiles the rails to keep them in good condition over the long term and to reduce the vibration on trains. The crucial difference: It is not powered by fossil energy sources such as diesel, but by hydrogen - and therefore runs without emissions. The locomotive can run and work for five to six hours on one "tank load" of hydrogen, which means an entire working day.

Emission-free and flexible

Being zero emissions, however, is not the only advantage offered by this type of drive. It also scores with high flexibility.

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This is because the conductor rails and voltages of subways, metros, etc. differ from country to country, and there are numerous different standards worldwide. If track construction machines were to be powered by electricity, the equipment would be large and costly. Hydrogen propulsion, on the other hand, offers independence from the power system and can be used worldwide. The principle of the system: hydrogen will be converted into water in a fuel cell with the addition of oxygen. This produces electricity, which then powers an electric motor. To increase efficiency, the electricity generated can be temporarily stored in a battery.

Proven hydrogen fuel storage system in a new application

The task now is to safely store the hydrogen in the rail milling train. For this, Linsinger, together with Hexagon Purus, has brought an expert on board. "Our proven Hydrogen Fuel Storage System enables us to store hydrogen for a wide range of applications safely and for the long term,"says Felix Grass, Sales Director Europe Rail & Distribution at Hexagon Purus. Development work was nevertheless necessary. While there are already standards for hydrogen systems in the automotive sector - a set of rules that can be used as a guide - there are still no such standards in the rail sector. It is therefore difficult to calculate in advance, for example, which components may be used. "As cooperation partners, we complemented each other perfectly: While we at Linsinger are very familiar with the rail world, Hexagon Purus contributed its comprehensive know-how in terms of cylinders and fuel storage systems," says Philipp Haselsteiner, MG-11 Hydrogen Project Manager at Linsinger. Another development challenge was the limited space available on the Rail Milling Train MG11.

How can the hydrogen storage system be accommodated in the limited space available?

The team was also able to master this challenge: The available installation space is optimally utilized via two short and four long cylinders. "Fundamental to such developments is the relationship of trust between the cooperation partners," says Grass, "and that was the case between Linsinger and us at all times."

Fuel storage system linsinger

Safety all along the line

The storage of hydrogen has been established for 100 years - it is proven and safe. In the Earth's atmosphere, this gas is even less flammable than conventional fuels such as gasoline or diesel. The application in track construction machinery, on the other hand, is new. Here, too, safety is the top priority. "We put the storage cylinders through a series of pressure, leak, burst and fireprotection tests up to a pressure of 350 bar," explains Grass. Permeation - the slow escape of hydrogen from the cylinders - is also not a problem: It would take more 58,000 hours for the system to be emptied. Even in the very rare event of a gas leak, no gas can accumulate. Hydrogen is fourteen times lighter than air and therefore escapes quickly and harmlessly into the atmosphere. In short, the hydrogen system itself and the Linsinger hydrogen rail milling trains meet all European safety standards. Linsinger has already included the hydrogen rail vehicles in its portfolio, and they are being delivered worldwide.

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