The world's first 100% hydrogen-powered train starts running in Germany

Just 1 kilo of hydrogen fuel can do the same as around 9.9 pounds of diesel.
Nergis Firtina
First hydrogen-powered passenger train
First hydrogen-powered passenger train

Alstom 

French-based company Alstom broke new ground in transportation. The company announced the world’s first hydrogen train, the Coradia iLint, reached Bremervörde, Lower Saxony, Germany.

This regional train only emits steam and condensed water while operating with a low noise level. With this breakthrough, it has been aimed to contribute to the greenest rail network globally, Alstom says.

“Emission-free mobility is one of the most important goals for ensuring a sustainable future, and Alstom has a clear ambition to become the world leader in alternative propulsion systems for rail," says Henri Poupart-Lafarge, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Alstom.

"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."

Just 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of hydrogen fuel can do the same as around 9.9 pounds (4.5 kg) of diesel.

As CNN reported, fourteen hydrogen trains were powered by fuel cell propulsion. A $93 million deal has been signed between state subsidiary Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LVNG) and Alstom.

The Elbe-Weser Railways and Transport Company (EVB), which will operate the trains, and gas and engineering company Linde, are also part of the project.

The trains, launched on Wednesday, will gradually replace the 15 trains currently servicing.

Trains can run the whole day

The trains are emissions-free and low-noise, with only steam and condensed water issuing from the exhaust. They have a range of 621 miles (1,000 km). It means that each train can run the entire day with a single tank of hydrogen.

The trains can go at a maximum of 140 kph, or 87mph, though regular speeds on the line are much less, between 80-120 kph.

The world's first 100% hydrogen-powered train starts running in Germany
The train's exhaust emits only steam and condensed water.

President of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, called the news a "model for the rest of the world" and "a milestone on the road to climate neutrality in the transport sector."

About the Cordia iLint

Apart from being the world's first 100 percent hydrogen train, the Cordia iLint also features many breakthroughs:

  • Clean energy conversion
  • Flexible energy storage in batteries
  • Intelligent management of motive power and available energy
  • The train travels at speeds of 50 to 75 mph (80 to 120 kph), with a maximum speed of 87 miles (140 kph).

The iLint was designed by Alstom teams in Salzgitter, Germany, and Tarbes, France. The project benefits from the support of the German government, and the development of the Coradia iLint was funded as part of the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP) German government.

What will be the future of trains?

As per CNN, the trains' next destination will be Frankfurt, where 27 of them have been ordered for the metropolitan area. They will also be making a stop in Italy, where six trains have been commissioned for use in the northern Lombardy region, and in France, where 12 trains will be shared across four regions.

The Coradia iLint is also a 2022 German Sustainability Design Award recipient.

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