Erneuerbare Energien aus Wasserkraft | © DB AG / Faruk Hosseini

Climate protection

At Deutsche Bahn, we have committed ourselves to an ambitious climate protection target: Becoming completely climate neutral by 2040. 

To achieve this goal, we have set ourselves ambitious intermediate stages: From 2025, all of our depots, office buildings and stations in Germany will be powered entirely by green energy. By 2030, we will reduce our CO2 emissions by at least 50% relative to 2006, and we aim to increase the share of renewable energy in our traction current mix to 80%. By 2038, we will have completed the transition for traction current, and all of this energy will then come from renewable sources.

We are already the most climate-friendly mobility company in Germany. For example, our efforts have ensured that 2020's specific CO2 emissions for the entire DB Group were 34% lower than the figure for 2006. In addition, some 61% of the power in our traction current mix came from renewable sources in 2020.

61 %
2020
100 %
2038
Share of renewable power in the traction current mix

We owe these successes to the efforts and investments made in many different divisions and units throughout the Group. The only way to achieve real results in climate protection is to understand and tackle this mission in a holistic manner. This includes, for example, expanding the share of renewable energies. But it also includes relying on alternative drives and fuels, increasing the energy efficiency of our trains, and adding new mobility offerings to our portfolio.

Increasing the use of renewable power 

Fully green stationary facilities: As Deutsche Bahn, we have already been operating 33 of our stations with 100 percent green power since 2019, including the 15 largest rail hubs, such as Berlin, Munich and Cologne. And from 2025, all our depots, office buildings and stations in Germany will be powered entirely by green electricity. 

Fully green traction current: We have identified a broad range of renewable energy sources that will help us make the switch to 100% green power for our trains by 2038. Since 2018, Deutsche Bahn’s long-distance passengers have been traveling on 100% green power. All trains on the Hamburg S-Bahn network run on renewables. And in Baden-Württemberg, we are running on 100 percent green power on six regional routes.
 

Wind turbines in a field beside a rail line.
DB's wind farms in Germany and Europe generate clean energy.
The North Sea's Amrumbank-West wind farm in the evening.
Starting 2024, the Amrumbank-West wind farm in the North Sea will make our traction current mix even greener.
The solar park at Gaarz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
The solar park at Gaarz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
The hydroelectric plant at Egglfing-Obernberg on the border between Bavaria and Austria.
In 2023, we will start using more green power from the hydroelectric plant at Egglfing-Obernberg on the border between Bavaria and Austria.
The dam at the Bad Reichenhall hydroelectric power station in Bavaria.
The dam at the Bad Reichenhall hydroelectric power station in Bavaria.

Expanding the use of alternative drives and fuels 

As part of our mission to transform Deutsche Bahn into a climate-neutral company, we plan to end the use of fossil fuels. Despite everything, however, it is not possible to electrify every route. This is why we are also relying on a technology-open approach with alternative drives and fuels. These will enable us to operate low-emission services on non-electrified routes:

Use of innovative alternative drives: Alternative drives based on battery and hydrogen technology are low-emission replacements for purely diesel-powered vehicles. We are currently testing hybrid and dual-mode locomotives that bring different drive systems together in a single vehicle. At the same time, we are also busy researching hydrogen's potential: We are working with business partners to test solutions for operating trains on green hydrogen and securing the necessary fuel supplies.

Use of alternative fuels: Alternative fuels can be produced without the need to exploit fossil fuel sources. Compared with conventional diesel, they then cause up to 90 percent fewer CO2 emissions in balance sheet terms. For example, our advanced TrainLab is conducting research into two eco-fuels: R33 and HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil). They are produced exclusively from residual and waste materials from vegetable and animal fats. 

Raising energy efficiency

We not only want to continuously expand green electricity, but also use it as efficiently as possible:

Brake energy recovery: Our new trains use a system that feeds power from braking maneuvers back into the overhead lines. This recovered energy is equivalent to the annual power consumption of about 340,000 four-person households.

Energy-efficient driving: Our train drivers use methods to drive more energy-efficiently and cut energy consumption by up to 10%.

Launching new mobility offerings

At the same time, we are introducing more and more new, intermodal mobility offerings to also make transport beyond rail climate-friendly from the first to the last mile:

Self-driving transportation and on-demand shuttles: Self-driving and climate-friendly vehicles are part of the future of mobility. We're already using innovative concepts developed in-house at Deutsche Bahn, such as our ioki subsidiary. Autonomous buses in Bad Birnbach, Karlsruhe and Berlin and the ioki shuttle in Hamburg are now part of the public transport system.

E-sharing services: We are the company behind the Flinkster fleet, one of Europe's leading eMobility fleets. In addition, we offer CleverShuttle, another sharing service. CleverShuttle already dispenses entirely with combustion engines and relies on electromobility and hydrogen. 

Call a Bike: Thanks to our nationwide range of bicycle options, people in some 80 towns and cities throughout Germany get to enjoy climate-friendly mobility.

We are building on these successes and will continue to press forward with climate protection in a holistic manner at Deutsche Bahn. After all, the German and European climate targets can only be achieved through a massive modal shift to environmentally friendly rail.