Published: Tue, September 18, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Germany rolls out world's first hydrogen train

Germany rolls out world's first hydrogen train

Germany on Monday rolled out the world's first hydrogen-powered train, signalling the start of 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 (62-mile) route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany - a stretch normally plied by diesel trains.

The roof-mounted hydrogen tanks give the trains a range of around 1 000 km, sufficient for a day's operation.

According to federal State Secretary for Transport & Digital Infrastructure and Commissioner for Rail Transport Enak Ferlemann, Federal Government, the development of fuel cell technology is "a strong sign for the mobility of the future" as an efficient alternative to diesel.

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The hydrogen trains are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity through a chemical reaction involving hydrogen molecules. At present, the prototype trains are being refuelled using a mobile filling station at Bremervörde, where the hydrogen gas is pumped from a steel container next to the tracks at Bremervörde station. Excess energy is then stored in ion-lithium batteries onboard the trains. "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", said Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstrom Chairman and CEO, in the statement.

Alstrom plans to deliver another fueling station and 14 additional trains to the German state by 2021.

Alstom says that other countries were also looking into buying their trains, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Canada.

One of Europe's largest railway manufacturers Alstom has launched the first CO2-emission-free train powered by hydrogen.

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