Strong logistics for our future


Strong logistics for our future

DB Cargo and the climate-neutral transport of green hydrogen by rail.

Germany has set itself the goal of becoming climate neutral by 2045. Green hydrogen offers a source of hope when it comes to avoiding carbon emissions, especially for the economy. However, the infrastructure required to transport the volumes that are estimated to be needed by 2030 to industrial sites does not yet exist. The planned pipeline network expansion won't be completed for decades. This is where DB Cargo comes in.

DB Cargo secures hydrogen supply

DB Cargo first developed a concept for the environmentally friendly transport of large volumes of green hydrogen by rail back in 2022. The German government currently estimates that demand for hydrogen will reach 110 terawatt hours per year by 2030. DB Cargo could transport around 20% of this volume to consumers. "What we've developed is a simple and efficient solution for transporting hydrogen from the ports to consumers in the hinterland, especially our inland industrial customers. Our solution, in effect, creates a secure and effective hydrogen energy supply chain for the whole German economy," says Dr Sigrid Nikutta, Member of the DB Management Board for Freight Transport and CEO of DB Cargo. "Green hydrogen needs green logistics – and that's what we offer."

Kesselwagen mit Wasserstoff auf dem Weg zu ihrem Bestimmungsort.
Caption: The hunger for hydrogen is growing and DB Cargo is doing its bit to secure the supply.

Hydrogen belongs on the rails

Rail is currently the greenest and safest way to transport hydrogen. It usually arrives in Germany by sea, not in gaseous form, but bound in chemicals, making it ideal for straightforward onward transport in industry-tested tank wagons. Once received by the consumers, which are typically in the chemical industry, the liquid hydrogen is broken back down into its constituent parts, and the hydrogen is separated and then used as an energy source. The rail network is ideal for transporting it to its destination.

Innovating for the future

Gaseous hydrogen can also be transported by rail, especially for supplying decentralised customers and users. However, dedicated equipment is required for this. To this end, DB Cargo is currently developing innovative intermodal containers: multi-element gas containers that are designed for transporting the gaseous hydrogen under high pressure. DB Cargo is also working on a viable solution for transporting cryogenic liquefied hydrogen. Through these efforts, DB Cargo is ensuring that the green hydrogen urgently needed for the decarbonisation of energy arrives at its intended destination. 

Get in touch with our expert.

Bjarne Regenbrecht

Project Manager Wasserstofflogistik DB Cargo BTT