Arriva and the provinces of Groningen and Friesland are now operating 4 regional trains that use environmentally-friendly biofuel, NOS reports.
The biofuel being used is hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and consists of biological residues and waste, meaning there is no competition with the production of food and animal feed. The train company says that extensive tests over the last two years have shown that its existing diesel lines and shunting locomotive fleets would be able to run on HVO when hauling trains.
“That test showed that HVO works in the same way as diesel,” a spokesman for the operator told news agency ANP. The new generation of renewable fuel is chemically identical to fossil-based diesel but cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 90% and could prove to be the quickest and simplest route to a cleaner, greener train service.
Diesel trains operating on non-electrified routes in Friesland and Groningen will not have to be specially converted to use the biofuel but can continue to be used until the end of their working lives, operating in a more environmentally friendly manner. This will help save resources and improve sustainability.
At the end of last year, the the train operator and the province of Groningen signed a tender for four hydrogen-powered trains. These trains are expected to run on the Delfzijl-Groningen-Veendam route from 2027. Tests are also underway of battery-operated trains.
The battery-powered trains run only slightly slower than diesel trains or those on an electrical cable route. If the tests are successful, the benefits of a system of battery-powered commuter trains could be substantial.
Electrical trains run quieter than diesel trains, and battery-operated trains run quieter than those on electrical lines.