Green Transformation

Climate protection

We want to be climate-neutral by 2040 (2022 Integrated Report). For this we will:

  • Be powering our depots, office buildings and stations in Germany with 100% eco-power from 2025.
  • Plan to increase the share of renewable energies in the DB traction current mix in Germany to 80% by 2030.
  • Have more than halved specific greenhouse gas emissions (i.e. emissions in relation to performance figures such as volume sold) compared to 2006.
  • Operate DB rail transport in Germany entirely with eco-power by 2038 at the latest.

At the beginning of March 2023, together with ENERPARC, we commissioned the solar park in Wasbek, with an output of 41 megawatts peak (MWp). For the first time, we are feeding eco-power directly into the German traction current grid. In future, up to 18,000 t CO₂e can be saved per year compared to when using electricity from fossil energy sources. However, we do not only want to continuously expand eco-power, but also use it as efficiently as possible. That is why we are relying on brake energy recovery in our new trains. We are also training and supporting our drivers in energy-saving ­­driving. The continuous roll-out of driver assistance systems and the use of longer trains at DB Cargo are helping us to further reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency. We are also emitting fewer greenhouse gases thanks to much younger train fleets in long-distance, regional and freight transport. As we move toward a climate-neutral DB Group, we no longer want to use fossil fuels. Already, more than 90% of our rail passenger and freight transport in Germany (based on weight-related ton kilometers; Ltkm) is provided electrically. We are also taking an approach that is open to all technologies, including the use of alternative drives and fuels. We are investing in green technologies, such as the scaled use of the biofuel HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oil), which is produced from biomass-based residues and waste materials. Depending on the composition of the raw material, around 85% to 90% less greenhouse gas emissions are generated compared to conventional diesel. Since April 2023, for example, the conversion of the gas station at the Munich North marshaling yard to HVO has saved around 9,000 t CO₂e per year. In addition, we will make the heat supply greener by gradually replacing systems operated with fossil energy sources with climate-neutral altern­atives after the end of their life cycle.

The digitalization of rail and trains and capital expenditure on the infrastructure are also having a positive impact on our climate footprint and our contribution to climate protection. For example, we are currently developing a data-driven recommender, a software-based recommendation service that is used to assess construction measures based on utilization and to identify optimal diversions. The goal is to identify optimal diversion routes for sections of the line affected by construction, thereby saving energy and ultimately CO₂e. By the end of June 2023, we successfully developed a prototype that is now being used and further developed in two regions.

Further information on specific environmental measures can be found in the chapter Development of business units.

Climate resilience

As an operator of critical infrastructure and as a land-use organization, we are particularly impacted by the effects of climate change on our core business, the railway in Germany. That is why we are intensifying our efforts in the Integrated Rail System – among other things, this will allow us to prepare railway technology for the increasing weather extremes caused by climate change. To do this, we are using resources such as the scientific data from the studies we commissioned with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) to strategically refine our climate resilience management and, above all, to prepare our infrastructure, vehicles and stations to an even greater extent so that they can withstand the impact of climate change more effectively.

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