FS Italiane, Snam and Hitachi Rail unite for sustainable mobility

Pilot project to convert trucks from diesel to natural gas

Rome, 28 March 2019

FS Italiane, Snam and Hitachi Rail have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that aims to convert part of Fondazione FS Italiane’s current fleet of trains from diesel to methane, within the context of promoting sustainable mobility for public transport throughout Italy.

The Memorandum, which was signed by Luigi Cantamessa (Director General of Fondazione FS Italiane), Marco Alverà (CEO of Snam) and Maurizio Manfellotto (CEO of Hitachi Rail Italy) before Gianfranco Battisti (CEO of FS Italiane) aims to launch a pilot project to transform one or two diesel-powered Fondazione FS Italiane railcars into more advanced Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) models. Following a feasibility study, the companies will set a greater number of trains on which to extend the trial.

“Environmental, social and economic sustainability is the fundamental aspect driving all of the Group’s activities and shall be one of the pillars of the Industrial Plan we are currently developing,” declares Gianfranco Battisti, CEO of FS Italiane. “The Memorandum confirms the importance of promoting sustainable mobility for FS Italiane, starting out with tourism. Tourism is on the up and up in Europe, with Italy capturing a good share. Many people reach tourist destinations by train, being an environmentally-friendly means of transport par excellence, whilst over 85% of passengers choose regional transport. For this reason, the business plan we will present foresees a six-billion-euro investment in 600 new regional Rock and Pop convoys. Rock and Pop will be operational from the end of spring, being 95% recyclable and seeing a 30% reduction in energy consumption.”

“Together with FS Italiane and Hitachi," declares Snam CEO Marco Alverà, “we are giving impetus to the development of sustainable mobility in Italy, with natural gas also being used for trains. Liquefied natural gas and, in the near future, liquefied biomethane have great prospects for rail transport as well as for road and sea passages, thanks to significant their environmental advantages and low costs. This initiative confirms Italy’s position as a European leader in the sector.”

“This Memorandum of Understanding,” comments Maurizio Manfellotto, CEO of Hitachi Rail Italy and Group COO Service & Maintenance Hitachi Rail, “solidifies the great partnership with the FS Italiane Group. We are proud to support one of our biggest customers not only through supplying trains but also - and with increasing significance - offering services and maintenance for whole-life asset management by developing technologically-advanced solutions that generate benefits for the customer and the community alike.”

Trains converted to methane will substantially eliminate particulate emissions and reduce those of carbon dioxide by around 20%. The eventual replacement of 100 trains would also lead to savings of €2.5 million per year in fuel costs.

The Memorandum is part of Snam’s commitment towards sustainable mobility. To this end, the company is investing to increase the number of distributors supplying natural gas to motor vehicles and trucks throughout Italy and to promote the development of a biomethane network (renewable gas with zero CO2) throughout Italy.

This pilot project is perfectly in line with the Social Innovation Mission Hitachi is pursuing with the aim of contributing to developing our society through innovative solutions. The progression of the activities promoted within the Memorandum represents an important contribution in terms of environmental impact, value generation and sustainability, with converting trains to methane also signifying an extension of their lifecycle to benefit the environment and society.

Fondazione FS Italiane promotes green tourism through the use of innovative technologies dedicated to energy efficiency, availing of renewable fuels and resources so as to reduce pollution and encourage a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. As part of the Memorandum with Snam and Hitachi, the Foundation shall provide the vehicles for the experiment and - in collaboration with Trenitalia - will make workshops available for the necessary adaptation.

The convoys powered by natural gas will be dedicated to sustainable tourism and convoy the thousands of tourists who choose slow travel to discover the most evocative places within the provinces of Italy, traversing some 700 kilometres of railway along which the Fondazione FS Italiane operates.

A collaboration between Fondazione FS Italiane and Fondazione Snam for certain tourism projects throughout the Italian territory is also planned.

The intention is to eventually enter into binding agreements to be defined by the parties in respect of applicable regulations, including those relating to operations between correlated parties.