French-based company Alstom has announced that the world’s first hydrogen train, the Coradia iLint, reached another historical milestone in Bremervörde, Lower Saxony, Germany. A bunch of these hydrogen fuel-cell trains have now entered passenger service along a 100% hydrogen train route in Lower Saxony.
In September 2018, there had been a successful trial run of almost two years with two pre-series Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel-cell trains along an existing route operated by Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser (EVB). The project has now officially entered public service. The use of hydrogen as a fuel for trains noticeably reduces the burden on the environment.
On the route between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude, 14 hydrogen-powered Alstom regional trains will be operated by the Elbe-Weser railways and transport company (evb) on behalf of Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG), gradually replacing 15 diesel trains. The state-run LNVG railway authority had already started looking for alternatives to diesel trains in 2012 and has committed to buying only non-diesel trains.
The hydrogen-powered Alstom regional trains will be fuelled daily and around the clock at the Linde hydrogen filling station. With a range of 1,000 km (around 620 miles), the Coradia iLint model can run all day long on just one tank of hydrogen on the EVB network. This emissions-free regional train only emits steam and condensed water while operating with a low level of noise. The train travels at speeds of 80 and 120 km/h (50-75 mph), with a maximum speed of up to 140 km/h (87 mph).
The Linde hydrogen filling station in Bremervörde contains sixty-four 500-bar high-pressure storage tanks with a total capacity of 1,800 kilograms, six hydrogen compressors, and two fuel pumps. The future plans call for hydrogen production on site by means of electrolysis and regeneratively generated electricity.
“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.”
The Alstom trains next destination will be Frankfurt, where 27 Coradia iLint trains have been ordered for the metropolitan area. They will also be making a stop in Italy, where Alstom will build 6 Coradia Stream hydrogen trains in the region of Lombardy – with the option for eight more. And in France, 12 Coradia Polyvalent hydrogen trains will be shared across four different French regions.