At the end of May, the German Federal Cabinet passed the new “Hydrogen Acceleration Act” for the rapid establishment and expansion of the framework conditions for the production, storage and import of hydrogen. According to the Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck, this is another milestone on the way to the hydrogen economy and its market ramp-up in Europe. The long-term and unavoidable reduction of CO2 emissions in all sectors of the economy can only be achieved by switching to renewable energies. Some industrial sectors are not electrifiable in terms of decarbonisation, such as long-haul aircraft. But already now, for example, the “Deutsche Bahn AG” has formalised the phasing out of diesel generators in the emergency power application by 2026. As an alternative to uninterruptible and emission-free electricity, as is necessary for signal boxes, hydrogen fuel cell systems are available. The German high-tech company “Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH” can currently announce the successful handover and completion of the stationary follow-up order to the DB subsidiary “DB Bahnbau Gruppe GmbH”. Proton Motor has supplied the customer with a complete hydrogen fuel cell backup power system, which has passed the site acceptance test as well as series and operational testing. The scope of supply includes the plug-and-play “HyCabinet S24” fuel cell system for indoor use, which consists of three fully redundant “HyModule® S8” systems. 

Installation of “HyCabinet” system in railway control centre in the greater Berlin area and in Swiss tunnel 

With immediate effect, the new rail infrastructure solution will be officially operated under the brand names “EnerRail H024” and “EnerRail H048” introduced by DB Bahnbau Gruppe. A co-operation agreement has been in place since 2015, under which 23 hydrogen fuel cell systems have already been developed and supplied by Proton Motor Fuel Cell for various off-grid power supply units. 

On 25 June 2024, Proton Motor received a new order intake for a complete hydrogen fuel cell emergency power system from DB Bahnbau. This follow-up order represents the 25th system since signing the agreement. It will be integrated into the same railway control centre as the system that was handed over on the 16 May 2024 in the greater Berlin area. Both systems can be operated independently of each other for a total rated power output of 48 kW. 

In addition to the “HyCabinet S24” products with a nominal output of 24 kW, Proton Motor has also received its first follow-up order from “H2tec AG”. The customer acts as a full-service provider for fuel cell emergency power systems on behalf of the Swiss „Federal Roads Office“ (FEDRO), which operates 300 road tunnels in Switzerland. 

Following the successful commissioning of the Proton Motor hydrogen fuel cell system “HyFrame® S28” in the Neuenhof Tunnel in the canton of Aargau in December 2022, the new order for the plug-and-play fuel cell product “HyCabinet S16” is planned. A “HyModule® S8” system is integrated into the arrangement as the heart of the package, with the possibility of easy expansion with an additional HyModule® S8. 

Professional technology response to safety aspect and emission control regulations 

For the safety aspect in road tunnels as well as in signal boxes that need to be equipped with uninterruptible and emission-free power generators, hydrogen fuel cell systems from Proton Motor provide a professional technology answer. The demand for hydrogen fuel cells in the rail and road infrastructure segment illustrates the importance of clean energy from renewable sources. Fuel cells in combination with hydrogen have significant advantages over diesel generators in terms of service and maintenance, and over batteries in terms of energy and power density. They also comply with modern emission control regulations because their supply energy and possible uses are completely green, sustainable and climate-neutral.