In what was a long-awaited premiere, Germany rolled out this week the world’s first hydrogen-powered train, the Coradia iLint, engineered by French sustainable mobility company Alstom. Even better, the launch saw the unveiling of not one but two of these bright blue commercial trains who will be put into operation immediately.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m pleased to invite you to experience the Coradia iLint for yourself today. Enter the #train and convince yourself! With this #worldpremiere, a new chapter will start in our industry, and for a new #mobility!" https://t.co/Hvys8d8gZZ #sustainablemobility pic.twitter.com/poqqBIRiZy— Alstom (@Alstom) September 16, 2018
Already servicing passengers
The advanced zero-emissions passenger trains will now service a 62 mile (100km) route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde, and Buxtehude in northern Germany. The event proves that the switch from diesel to this environmentally friendly and wise option is possible and underway.
"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,” said Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and CEO of Alstom.
Our new #hydrogen train is a true game-changer. It feels just like a normal train, and yet there are many differences. The Coradia iLint is not only much more silent than a diesel train but also does not emit any polluants. pic.twitter.com/mggRhJORBl— Alstom (@Alstom) September 16, 2018
“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 executive added. Meanwhile, the firm has also revealed it plans to deliver another 14 Coradia iLints to Lower Saxony state by 2021.
Coradia iLints are marvels of hydrogen fuel transportation engineering that can run for up to 600 miles (1,000km) on just one tank of hydrogen. This capacity puts them at the same level of efficiency as their competitors, diesel trains.
Greener, quieter and perhaps cheaper in the long run
But Alstom's tech is not only greener than its outdated counterpart, it is also quieter. And although hydrogen trains are more expensive than diesel versions, they are cheaper to run and maintain, counteracting the initial costs.
"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," said Enak Ferlemann, Federal Government Commissioner for Rail Transport and Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.
The new trains can reach speeds of up to 140 km/h. The futuristic revolutionary trains function by using fuel cells to convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity while storing excess energy in ion-lithium batteries.
The only emissions emitted by these speedy transportation beasts is steam and water. With global warming constantly looming over us, we can only hope this launch will inspire a worldwide movement to hydrogen-powered transport.