"In successfully proving the operability of the fuel cell technology, we will set the course for rail transport to be largely operated climate-friendly and emission-free in the future."
Two German rail operators, with the help of Alstom, have completed a "world-first", after they registered the inaugural commercial journey of a hydrogen-powered train that produces zero emissions. Completing the route last week, Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG) and Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser (EVB) ran the first service of the Alstom vehicle on the 100km section of line in the Lower Saxony region of the country. The two, zero-emission Coradia iLint trains are powered using electricity generated from hydrogen and oxygen, have a 1,000-kilometre range and can reach speeds of up to 140 kmh.
Alstom said that the latest eco-train, whose emissions are solely water, has replaced EVB’s existing diesel fleet on a section of the line. The French train manufacturer plans to introduce 14 more Coradia iLint trains to LNVG by 2021, coinciding with the building of a permanent, stationery filling station – refuelling is currently undertaken 40-foot-high trackside steel container at Bremervörde station on the north coast.
Calling it a revolution for Alstom and for the future of mobility, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, @Alstom chairman and CEO, said: “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.”
Bernd Althusmann, Lower Saxony’s Minister of Economy and Transport, said that the new trains provide a “climate-friendly alternative to conventional diesel trains” that would prove particularly suitable on non-electrified lines. “In successfully proving the operability of the fuel cell technology in daily service, we will set the course for rail transport to be largely operated climate-friendly and emission-free in the future.”
In 2015, SmartRail World reported that China had introduced a hydrogen-powered tram, making it at the time the only country in the world to have mastered the technology, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. Two years later in 2017, China made more of a mark on the hydrogen transport market after CRRC Qingdao Sifang, a unit of CRRC, the nation’s leading maker of high-speed rail, said it has embarked on a 760 million yuan ($109.0 million), 20-station programme that will include eight hydrogen fuel cell trams. Originally planned for completion this year, the project is part of the Guangdong province in which it will operate to make 75% of public services powered by green energy over the next four years.
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