Erneuerbare Energien aus Wasserkraft | © DB AG / Faruk Hosseini

Climate protection

As Deutsche Bahn, we already offer the most climate-friendly mobility in Germany. But we want even more. That is why we have committed ourselves to an ambitious goal: We will become climate neutral by 2040. To achieve this goal, we are relying on four powerful instruments – increasing the share of renewable energy, expanding electrification, the end of diesel, and the start of the heat transition.

100 %
climate neutral by 2040

We have committed to the 1.5 degree path in accordance with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and are having our climate protection target with its absolute reduction paths scientifically reviewed and confirmed by the SBTi. Throughout the Group and in every business area, we want to make a demonstrable contribution to achieving the goals of the Paris climate conference.

Climate protection is a central building block of our Green Transformation. We are driving forward Deutsche Bahn's Green Transformation holistically in the four environmental fields of action of climate protection, nature conservation, resource conservation and noise reduction. In addition, we are also facing up to our social responsibility, which also affects the entire Group.

In 2022, for example, we were able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the entire DB Group by over 42 percent compared with 2006. And the share of renewable energies in the DB traction current mix was already around 65 percent in 2022.

65 %
2022
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 Deutsche Bahn. Because real success in climate protection can only be achieved if we think about and approach this task holistically.

Increasing the share of renewable energy

Full greening of traction current: One of the main building blocks on our path to climate neutrality is to use renewable power for all electricity consumed by Deutsche Bahn. That's why we are working to switch our DB traction current mix exclusively to electricity from renewable sources, and we aim to achieve this by 2038. Passengers who take our long-distance trains in Germany already travel using 100% green electricity. And all trains on the Hamburg S-Bahn network run on renewables.

Fully green stationary facilities: We will utilize 100% renewable power in all of our depots, office buildings and stations in Germany by 2025. Thirty-three of our stations, including the 15 largest stations such as Berlin, Munich and Cologne, have been using 100% renewable power since 2019. 

Raising energy efficiency: Not only do we aim to increase our use of green power, we also want to use it more efficiently. That's why our new trains use a system that feeds power from braking maneuvers back into the overhead lines, and why we train locomotive drivers in energy-efficient driving.

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.

Expansion of electrification

Already today, more than 90 percent of all rail transport services in Germany are provided electrically. Together with the federal government, we want to further increase this share.

End of Diesel

On the way to a climate-neutral Deutsche Bahn, we want to stop using fossil fuels. That's why we're adopting a technology-open approach with alternative fuels and drives.

Use of alternative fuels: With alternative fuels, diesel vehicles can continue to operate without the need for technical overhauls. This is a sustainable approach that conserves resources because we do not have to prematurely sideline fully functional trains and locomotives. Our alternative fuel efforts are focused on the biofuel hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). HVO is produced exclusively from biological residues and waste materials and produces around 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional diesel.

Use of alternative drives: Alternative drives are low-emission alternatives to pure diesel drives. For example, we are currently testing an innovative hydrogen system consisting of a refueling station, train and maintenance infrastructure in partnership with Siemens Mobility. We're also testing battery trains and developing the associated infrastructure. Battery trains essentially have a rechargeable battery on board. On non-electrified lines, the train draws its energy from the charged battery, keeping it climate-friendly even when there is no overhead line. 

Start of the heat transition

On the way to a climate-neutral Deutsche Bahn, we also want to stop using fossil fuels for heating. To this end, we are working on various concepts and measures. In concrete terms, this means that when oil-fired heating systems reach the end of their life cycle, we do not replace them on a 1:1 basis, but replace them with climate-neutral alternatives.

In addition, we are conducting site analyses and developing concrete phase-out plans and an implementation path until 2040. Alternatives to fossil plants include heat pumps and geothermal energy.

Launching new mobility offerings

To make transport beyond rail climate-friendly from the first to the last mile, we are offering new mobility services that allow customers to combine multiple modes of transport.

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.

E-sharing services

We are the company behind Flinkster, one of Europe's leading eMobility fleets. Our nationwide carsharing network is represented in over 400 cities.

On-demand shuttle ioki

In some parts of Hamburg, our ioki shuttles take travelers from A to B around the clock with zero emissions – without a set timetable or set routes. We've managed to change mobility habits there. One in four passengers leaves his or her car at home and takes the shuttle, and over 70% of these passengers take the shuttle to major public transport stops. 

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