The world’s first hydrogen-powered train recently took its maiden voyage, reaching 50 miles per hour in a passenger-free trial run on a test track in Salzgitter, Germany. The zero-emission Coradia iLint train leaves only water vapor in its wake, is completely silent, and integrates many different innovative elements to propel it down the track. These include clean energy conversion to create electricity, flexible energy storage via batteries, and smart management between traction power and available energy. It’s based around the frame of a regular diesel train and designed to run on traditional, non-electrified tracks with a combination of sustainable operation and high performance.
“This test run is a significant milestone in environmental protection and technical innovation,” said Dieder Pfleger, vice president of Alstom Germany and Austria—the company that manufactures the train. “With the Coradia iLint and its fuel cell technology, Alstom is the first railway manufacturer to offer a zero-emission alternative for mass transit trains. Today our new traction system, so far successfully proved on the test ring, is used on a train for the first time – a major step towards cleaner mobility in Europe.”
White tests of the train at the Salzgitter plant only go up to 50 miles per hour, testing at a facility in Velim, Czech Republic have seen the train travel up to nearly 90 miles per hour. Hydrogen gas used for testing the train is essentially a waste byproduct of industrial processes, and the company has plans to use wind energy to produce the hydrogen fuel needed in the future.
Images via Alstom