The world’s two first hydrogen-powered trains have begun service in Germany. The trains, which operate in between northern German towns, are a step away from traditional diesel power.
According to a press release from Alstom, the trains’ French parent company, they are “equipped with fuel cells which convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, thus eliminating pollutant emissions related to propulsion.” The trains, which promise a low-noise trip, can hit speeds up to 140 km/hr, or 86.9 MPH. They’ll run on 100 kilometres (62 miles) of track.
The gaseous hydrogen that will power the trains will be pumped in from a 40-foot-high steel container near the tracks at Bremervörde station. Already the endpoint of the German Ferry Road, the small town now plays a role in transitioning away from diesel. In one way or another, diesel engines have been powering trains for over a century.
Although the Coradia iLint trains, as they’re known, are running on a short track, they are capable of so much more. Running on a single tank of hydrogen, they can run around 600 miles (1,000km), on par with a diesel train. Air pollution has become an increasing problem in Germany, with nitrous dioxide causing over 10,000 premature deaths in 2016. Alstom is optimistic that the Coradia iLint trains will catch on, with on a focus on making non-electrified train lines more environmentally friendly.
“Sure, buying a hydrogen train is somewhat more expensive than a diesel train, but it is cheaper to run,” Stefan Schrank, the project’s manager at Alstom, said according to The Guardian.
Alstom hopes the two trains are just a preview of what’s to come. There are already deals in place for another stationary filling station in 2021, and the company plans to send 14 more Coradia iLint trains by the same year.
Source: The Guardian
Originally posted on: Popular Mechanics