DB Cargo says that extensive tests have shown that its existing diesel main line and shunting locomotives will be able to run on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) to haul trains of up to 3000 tonnes for last mile operation at private sidings, ports and freight terminals without the need for any complex conversion.

DB Cargo says using this biofuel has several advantages. HVO is made from biological residues and waste and no additional cultivation areas are used for the production. The biofuel is also free of palm oil. Combustion in the engine only releases the amount of CO2 that was previously withdrawn from the atmosphere during the growing of the plants.

“We can easily run freight trains for our customers with alternative fuels and the existing locomotive fleet in a completely CO2-neutral manner,” says Dr Sigrid Nikutta, DB board member for freight transport. “At the same time, we are investing in new technologies and will convert the diesel locomotives to hybrid technology. We can therefore offer our customers tailor-made, climate-friendly supply chains. Many customers have already signalled to us that this is exactly what they are waiting for: sustainability, and we are literally creating it down to the last metre of the supply chain.”