German officials reported that on Wednesday, Germany began operating the first fleet of passenger hydrogen trains. In the state of Lower Saxony, it has taken the place of 15 diesel trains that were formerly used on non-electrified tracks.
The 14 newly-inaugurated trains’ engines are powered by electricity produced by hydrogen fuel cells. The expansion of hydrogen use as a clean substitute for fossil fuels has the support of the German government.
The 92 million dollar project, according to state governor Stephan Weil, is an excellent example of Lower Saxony’s attempts to green its economy.
Regional rail operator LNVG runs the Alstom-built trains on routes connecting the northern towns of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde, and Buxtehude.
The Coradia iLint hydrogen trains, according to Alstom, have a range of up to 1,000 kilometers and a top speed of 140 kmph (87 mph).
The trains will save 1.6 million liters (more than 422,000 gallons) of diesel fuel yearly by using hydrogen produced with renewable energy.
Currently, hydrogen is created as a byproduct of chemical reactions; however, within three years, German specialty gas manufacturer Linde hopes to make hydrogen locally using exclusively renewable energy.
Alstom, a company focused on sustainable mobility, has revealed that the Coradia will be the first hydrogen train in the world.
“The world’s first hydrogen train, the Coradia iLint, demonstrates our clear commitment to green mobility combined with state-of-the-art technology. We are very proud to bring this technology into series operation as part of a world premiere, together with our great partners,” says Henri Poupart-Lafarge, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Alstom.
Two pre-series trains had completed an almost two-year trial run in September 2018. According to Alstom, it presently has four contracts for regional trains fueled by hydrogen fuel cells. The first is in Lower Saxony for 14 Coradia iLint trains, while the second is in the Frankfurt metropolitan area for 27 Coradia iLint trains.
The third contract is from Italy, where Alstom is constructing six Coradia Stream hydrogen trains in the Lombardy region with the possibility of building eight more. The fourth contract is from France, where 12 Coradia Polyvalent hydrogen trains will be distributed among four French regions. Coradia iLint has been successfully tested in Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden, according to Alstom.