Germany has unveiled not one but two Hydrogen fuel trains. It is being celebrated as a world-first.
The train can traverse 600 miles (1,000km) of railway on a single tank of hydrogen. What is significant about this number is that it matches what diesel trains can do. The new-fangled trains can reach a speed of 140km/h (86.99 miles per hour).
The fuel cells are positioned on top of the train. The cells combine hydrogen and oxygen, then transfer them to lithium-ion batteries inside the train. The train then emits steam and water. Another 58 zero-emissions trains are to be sold to Germany.
The train has been specifically designed to operate on non-electrified railway lines. To refuel the train, there will be a hydrogen refueling station Bremervorde where a 40-foot-high steel container will be pumped into the trains. The train is also quieter than its diesel-powered brethren.
It is named the Coradia iLint, and is engineered by French sustainable mobility company Alstom. The train releases no emissions. It will take people from A to B on a 62 mile (100km) route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremervörde, and Buxtehude.
Henri Poupart-Lafarge, chairman and CEO of Alstrom said:
“This is a revolution for Alstom and for the future of mobility. The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell train is entering passenger service and is ready for serial production. The Coradia iLint heralds a new era in emission-free rail transport. It is an innovation that results from French-German teamwork and exemplifies successful cross-border cooperation.”
The only question is: Will it be cheaper? A hydrogen train is more expensive to manufacture than a diesel train. However, Alstom says that the hydrogen trains will be cheaper to run and maintain in the long term - the same cannot be said for diesel trains.
Enak Ferlemann, Federal Government Commissioner for Rail Transport and Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure said:
“Hydrogen is a real, low-emission and efficient alternative to diesel. These trains can be operated cleanly and in an environmentally friendly way, especially on secondary lines where overhead lines are uneconomical or not available yet.”
“World's First Emissions-Free Hydrogen Fuel Train Launches in Germany.” Interesting Engineering, 18 Sept. 2018, interestingengineering.com/worlds-first-emissions-free-hydrogen-fuel-train-launches-in-germany.