DB Energie and swb to develop power plant to produce climate-neutral traction current

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Deutsche Bahn subsidiary DB Energie has signed a declaration of intent with regional energy supplier swb to develop a new power plant system in Bremen, northwest Germany, which will produce climate-neutral traction current to sustainably power DB’s train fleet.

According to DB Energie, the goal is to develop a system which can produce up to 200 MW of traction current and is a building block on Deutsche Bahn’s path to climate neutrality by 2040.

The two firms will jointly examine various technical options by the end of 2023 to determine which technology will be used to generate electricity at the new plant. For example, the use of biomethane and, in the future, the possible use of hydrogen are being investigated. A so-called oxifuel power plant in combination with CO2 separation is also being considered.

The Bremen swb power plant site in Mittelsbüren offers the best conditions for climate-neutral energy generation, DB Energie noted. For example, in the future it will be connected to the 380 kV high-voltage grid, and to the planned European hydrogen and CO2 grid. It is also located close to offshore wind farms, and there are many storage options close to the site.

At the Mittelsbüren location, swb is currently operating a gas and steam turbine power plant (CCPP), which has provided around 200 MW of traction current for DB Energie since 2016.

Torsten Schein, CEO of DB Energie, said, “Climate-neutral mobility starts with the climate-neutral generation of energy. And this is exactly where we are starting for the first time. Together with swb AG, we want to develop a system that will produce CO2-neutral traction current for our trains. This is a real milestone, and I am delighted that we are taking this big step towards climate-neutral rail together with such a strong partner.”

Dr Karsten Schneiker, member of the management board of swb, added, “DB Energie and swb have been connected by a decades-long partnership when it comes to power generation. For us, taking the next step together and working intensively on climate-neutral solutions is the logical continuation of this successful partnership. The current project is another milestone for swb to contribute our technical expertise.”

DB Energie manages Deutsche Bahn’s more than 7,900 km-long, 16.7 Hz traction current network. By 2038, Deutsche Bahn’s traction current should consist of 100% renewable energy. To cover the high demand for renewable electricity, DB Energie is building up a modern and sustainable green electricity portfolio. This includes a new solar plant in Schleswig-Holstein, which feeds directly into the traction power grid.