Germany will be the first country in the world to boast a zero-emission passenger train powdered entirely by hydrogen fuel. Designed by French company Alstom, and recently unveiled at the Berlin InnoTrans trade show, the innovative “hydrail” is being built for the Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in Germany’s Lower Saxony region. According to developers, the train will be operational by December of next year.
Result of two years of research, the ingenious “Coradia iLint” passenger train will serve as a sustainable and zero-emission alternative to the multitudinous diesel trains currently plying across the country. Featuring an array of roof-mounted hydrogen fuel tanks, the electric transport is being developed as part of the government’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to exhaust fumes.
While the technology behind hydrogen-powered trains has been around for some time, it has largely remained confined to cargo transport. As pointed out by developers, the Coradia iLint is the first passenger train ever built to run on hydrogen fuel. Speaking about the project, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, the head of Alstom, said:
Alstom is proud to launch a breakthrough innovation in the field of clean transportation which will complete its Coradia range of regional trains. It shows our ability to work in close collaboration with our customers and develop a train in only two years.
Thanks to its futuristic design and powerful electric engines, the newly-constructed train is significantly quieter than conventional diesel varieties. At its highest speed of around 87 mph (or 140 km/h), for instance, the Coradia iLint runs without much noise, except for the sound produced as a result of the wheels’ motion and air resistance. It is, however, more expensive than the currently-available models.
At present, the officials are working to bring the hydrail concept to other parts of Germany. Governments of Denmark, Netherlands and Norway have also showed interest in adopting the technology for use in their respective countries.