Germany has rolled out the world’s first hydrogen-powered train. The landmark move, signals to push the challenge that might of polluting diesel trains with costlier but more eco-friendly technology.
Two bright blue Coradia iLint trains, built by French company Alstom, began running a 100km route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany — a stretch normally plied by diesel trains.
Speaking at the launch, Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge said, ‘The world’s first hydrogen train is entering into commercial service and is ready for serial production’. Alstom has said it plans to deliver another 14 of the zero-emissions trains to Lower Saxony state by 2021, with other German states also expressing an interest. Hydrogen trains are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen, a process that leaves steam and water as the only emissions. Excess energy is stored in ion lithium batteries on board the train. The Coradia iLint trains can run for around 1000 kilometres on a single tank of hydrogen, similar to the range of diesel trains. Alstom is betting on the technology as a greener, quieter alternative to diesel on non-electrified railway lines — an attractive prospect to many German cities scrambling to combat air pollution.