PESA and PKN Orlen sign hydrogen train and refueling system agreement at InnoTrans

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Polish railway vehicle manufacturer PESA and PKN Orlen, a leading player in the energy industry, have signed an agreement at InnoTrans 2022 in Berlin to develop a hydrogen train and refueling system for rail operators.

During InnoTrans PESA and PKN Orlen are jointly presenting a hydrogen shunting locomotive and a mobile refueling station.

The new agreement will see the two firms work closely together and in line with their respective strategies to advance hydrogen technologies. They aim to develop solutions for passenger and freight rail carriers, and intermodal operators who intend to invest in emission-free rolling stock.

According to PESA, “it is crucial for potential customers to have access to hydrogen as fuel, including access to the refueling stations themselves, the appropriate hydrogen purity class, as well as the logistics of its transport from hubs to refueling stations.”

“Today, no one is wondering whether hydrogen vehicles will enter the Polish tracks, because it is an inevitable process. In discussions with carriers, we are most often asked exactly how we will solve the issue of hydrogen refueling. That is why the agreement signed today is so important. It is a clear signal for the market – the vehicles produced by PESA have an assured supply of hydrogen,” said Krzysztof Zdziarski, president of PESA.

PESA is the first Polish rolling stock manufacturer to start working on the use of hydrogen fuel cell drives in rail vehicles. For almost three years, the company has been implementing the project of a shunting locomotive powered by hydrogen fuel.

“The locomotive, which we are currently presenting at InnoTrans, has already been put into service and the first test drives have been completed,” said Zdziarski. “After the fair, it will undergo the last homologation tests at the track in Żmigród, and in the first quarter of next year it will be put into operation at the PKN Orlen Production Plant in Płock. At the same time, we are continuing to work on zero-emission passenger vehicles that can be powered by traction and hydrogen cells.

“Emission-free rail vehicles are one of the elements of the “Green Pesa” program implemented as part of the 2026+ strategy. Green Pesa means not only ecological vehicles, but also changes in the company itself, aimed at the maximum reduction of the carbon footprint in the production process and the functioning of the company,” he added. 

“We are investing in renewable energy sources, including hydrogen, because it is the future of the Orlen Group,” said Daniel Obajtek, president of the management board of PKN Orlen. “We are effectively implementing a hydrogen strategy that supports our business goals and our pursuit of carbon neutrality. By 2030, we intend to allocate approximately PLN 7.5 billion for investments, as a result of which nearly half of the hydrogen we produce will be low- and zero-emission. Cooperation with PESA is another important step in the commercialization of this technology. We see great potential for hydrogenation in rail transport. By making full use of it, we will realistically contribute to the transformation of Polish railways using the latest technologies. This will directly increase the security and energy independence of Poland.”