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Scientists from the Czech Republic and Norway are working together on an innovative project to use hydrogen on Czech railways

Department 58 – International Relations
Department 58 – International Relations


A research project called RegioHyt has brought together Czech and Norwegian scientists in an ambitious effort to utilize hydrogen as a fuel for Czech railways. This innovative consortium was formed by the Norwegian research institute SINTEF and Czech organizations including ÚJV Řež, VŠCHT Prague, the Railway Research Institute, the Czech Hydrogen Technology Platform, the Transport Research Centre, and the Czech Railway Administration. Supported by EEA Grants through the Research Programme (KAPPA), the project commenced in 2021 with the primary task of assessing the potential for deploying hydrogen-powered trains on Czech railways.

The aim of the RegioHyt project aligns with the goals of the European Green Deal, which promotes green and sustainable transport technologies. Given the existence of non-electrified lines that require costly investments in electrification, there is a quest for an alternative to diesel traction. While battery trains are environmentally friendly, their limited range due to battery capacity and weight positions hydrogen propulsion as a promising solution. Although hydrogen trains require infrastructure investment, it is lower compared to line electrification, offering significantly higher range and faster refueling compared to battery options.

Cooperation with a Norwegian partner

The collaboration with the Norwegian research institute SINTEF is essential for the RegioHyt project. It focuses on identifying suitable railway lines for hydrogen propulsion through techno-economic analyses. SINTEF provides simulation models to calculate the energy needs of trains with different propulsion systems. The Ústí nad Liberec region was chosen as the primary area of analysis due to its high proportion of non-electrified lines, indicating economic potential for hydrogen train introduction. The analysis is currently expanding to other Czech regions.

Another aspect of the project revolves around the availability of green hydrogen sources and calculating the emission footprint based on the location of filling stations. The cooperation with the Norwegian partner is crucial for providing essential information for the optimal implementation of hydrogen propulsion on Czech railways.

Project progress and future plans

On 27 November 2023, a seminar for all interested parties was held at the Innovation Centre in Ústí nad Labem, where initial results of the project were presented. Participants, including representatives of Ústí nad Labem, discussed the transformation and the need for hydrogen in public transport, emphasizing that priority should be given to public transport if hydrogen is to be implemented.

široká seminář

Participants of the seminar Regional hydrogen trains on Czech railways, 27 November 2023, Ústí nad Labem

Mr. Marek Pětioký, an expert, presented a methodology for selecting suitable lines, with an emphasis on at least five non-electrified lines with a length of at least 100 km. "Nowadays, when we are looking for greener alternatives in transport, hydrogen and battery technologies are coming to the fore. In the Czech Republic, an extensive techno-economic analysis has been carried out on seven lines, revealing significant potential for the application of these innovative drives in regional passenger transport," he says. The selection of the lines takes into account parameters such as lack of electrification, opportunities for refuelling stations and availability of hydrogen sources.

The Ústí Region appears to have sufficient hydrogen to power trains and buses. It is produced as a waste substance by the Ústí nad Labem Spolchemie and also by Air Products in the Litvínov chemical plant. Lukáš Polák from ÚJV Řež emphasized the growing importance of railway electrification in gradually reducing diesel usage. He underlined that electric operation is more economically efficient, stressing the need for political will to promote more sustainable transport technologies.

Hydrogen and battery propulsion offer real potential in Czech regional passenger transport. The decision on the choice of power unit should consider not only technical parameters but also local conditions and fuel prices.

With completion expected in spring 2024, the RegioHyt project represents a significant step towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly transport in the Czech Republic.


More about project:

Title of project:  Regional hydrogen trains
Project promoter: ÚJV Řež, a. s.

Výzkumný Ústav Železniční, a.s. - Railway Research Institute, Inc.

SINTEF (Stiftelsen for industriell og teknisk forskning or Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research)

Česká vodíková technologická platforma - Czech Hydrogen Technology Platform

Vysoká škola chemicko-technologická v Praze - University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague

Programme: Research
Grant: 652 813 EUR
Goal of the project: The aim of this project is to analyse the situation on Czech railways and to locate areas where hydrogen train technology would be the preferred technical, economic and ecological solution compared to other train technologies


The study will initially gather data from non-electrified railways where diesel trainsets are currently in operation. Utilizing the methodology and software developed by SINTEF, a techno-economic analysis will be conducted on selected regional lines, comparing different train powertrains including diesel, battery, hydrogen, and hybrid options. These analyses will facilitate the identification of preferred areas that exhibit favorable technological, economic, and environmental conditions for deploying hydrogen trains and replacing future decommissioned diesel trains on non-electrified railways.

This collaboration represents a bilateral effort between the Czech consortium and the Norwegian research institute SINTEF. While the Czech consortium focuses on collecting and developing local data, SINTEF leverages its expertise in simulations and computational techno-economic analyses to utilize this data effectively. This collaborative approach enables both partners to collectively enhance their research-based knowledge for the potential competitive deployment of low-carbon technologies. The cooperation between the Czech and Norwegian research institutes is expected to yield new insights and capabilities for the development of zero-emission trains within the Czech railways, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of companies and research institutes involved in the project.

Kappa Programme:

The Programme for Support of Applied Research, Experimental Development and Innovation KAPPA, financed by the EEA and Norway Grants, was approved by the Government of the Czech Republic by Resolution No. 308 of 16 May 2018. The Programme is expected to last from 2020 to 2024, with the announcement of public competitions for the selection of projects for the Programme. The minimum project duration is set at 24 months, the maximum at 5 years, with the deadline for all projects no later than 30 April 2024.

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