World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Train Hits the Tracks in Germany
Germany on Monday, 17 September, rolled out the world’s first hydrogen-powered train. The initiative is a push to challenge the might of polluting diesel trains with costlier but more eco-friendly technology.
Two bright blue Coradia iLint trains, built by French TGV-maker Alstom, began running a 100-kilometre route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany – a stretch normally plied by diesel trains.
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.
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.
Other countries are also looking into hydrogen trains, Alstom said, including Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Canada.
In France, the government has already said it wants the first hydrogen train to be on the rails by 2022.