TransNamib/ HyRail Namibia: Introducing Green Hydrogen as a Locomotive Fuel

A consortium led by Hyphen Technical, comprised of TransNamib (the Namibian National Railways), the University of Namibia, CMB.TECH and Traxtion, were successfully awarded funding towards the consortium’s proposed €7.6 million (over $7.37m) hydrogen locomotive project.

Four green hydrogen pilot projects hit the jackpot at the Namibian Green Hydrogen Conference when Presidential Economic Advisor and Green Hydrogen Commissioner James Mnyupe announced they would receive funding to prove their concepts.

The four pilot projects are partly funded from a share of the €30 million (over $29.1m) of grant funding made available by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

A consortium led by Hyphen Technical, comprised of TransNamib (the Namibian National Railways), the University of Namibia, CMB.TECH and Traxtion, were successfully awarded funding towards the consortium’s proposed €7.6 million (over $7.37m) hydrogen locomotive project. It aims to develop Africa’s first dual-fuel hydrogen-diesel locomotive to be fuelled with Namibian green hydrogen.

HyRail Namibia: Introducing green hydrogen as a locomotive fuel

The Hyphen Technical-led consortium proposes to convert two traditional diesel-electric locomotives to dual-fuel using hydrogen technology developed over two decades by technology partner, CMB.TECH.

The Hydrogen technology is provided by CMB.TECH and the hydrogen fuel will be provided by Cleanergy Solutions Namibia, which is developing a green hydrogen production facility near Walvis Bay.

The project is named HyRail Namibia, in alignment with its goals of introducing green hydrogen as a fuel for locomotives in Namibia and the region. The project, expected to take 18 months to complete, is comprised of the conversion of two locomotives to use hydrogen in internal combustion engines and a hydrogen fuel storage car to store fuel for the locomotives.

The prototypes will be built and adapted at the Traxtion Rail Hub in Rosslyn, South Africa and then moved to Walvis Bay for operation by TransNamib. Maintenance of the locomotives will take place in Namibia by Traxtion, which will also provide training for TransNamib technical staff.

Through this project, TransNamib will be the first state-owned railway in Africa to operate hydrogen-powered locomotives. The project pilot aims to pave the way towards the conversion of the entire locomotive fleet in Namibia in the future.

“We look forward to working with our consortium partners, BMBF and the Government of Namibia in taking this first step towards the decarbonisation of Namibia’s railways and taking a lead in African rail decarbonisation,” said Konrad Boshoff, Hyphen Technical CEO.

“With the grant support, we will be able to offer TransNamib the experience of operating a locomotive which can run on clean and cheap fuel produced in Namibia. The tandem set of two dual fuel locomotives with a hydrogen storage carriage in between, will be the first in the world and has a great potential to offer low-cost logistics, which will bring new opportunities for the country,” explained Roy Campe – CTO CMB.TECH.

•https://www.esi-africa.com/industry-sectors/future-energy/namibia-pilot-project

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