Urban Transport

World's first hydrogen fuel cell-powered train enters service

World's first hydrogen fuel ce...
The hydrogen fuel cell-powered Coradia iLint on the move
The hydrogen fuel cell-powered Coradia iLint on the move
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The Coradia iLint is powered by hydrogen fuel cells
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The Coradia iLint is powered by hydrogen fuel cells
Interior of the Coradia iLint
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Interior of the Coradia iLint
Seating on the Coradia iLint
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Seating on the Coradia iLint
The Coradia iLint is a two-car configuration
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The Coradia iLint is a two-car configuration
The Coradia iLint showing the car link
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The Coradia iLint showing the car link
The Coradia iLint entered regular service on September 17, 2018
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The Coradia iLint entered regular service on September 17, 2018
The first fleet will consist of 16 units
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The first fleet will consist of 16 units
The Coradia iLint has zero local emissions
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The Coradia iLint has zero local emissions
The Coradia iLint will initially operate on a 100-km (62-mi) line
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The Coradia iLint will initially operate on a 100-km (62-mi) line
The Coradia iLint front view
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The Coradia iLint front view
The Coradia iLint making its media debut
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The Coradia iLint making its media debut
The control cabin of the Coradia iLint
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The control cabin of the Coradia iLint
The Coradia iLint will run in Lower Saxony
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The Coradia iLint will run in Lower Saxony
The Coradia iLint runs on hydrogen
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The Coradia iLint runs on hydrogen
The hydrogen fuel cell-powered Coradia iLint on the move
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The hydrogen fuel cell-powered Coradia iLint on the move

The world's first hydrogen fuel cell-powered train entered regular service on Monday in Germany as a two-car Alstom Coradia iLint took to the tracks on Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser's (EVB) Elbe-Weser network in Lower Saxony. Unveiled on Sunday before government and industry dignitaries at Bremervörde, the new Coradia iLint will be first of two in a growing network of quiet, zero-emission trains operating on Germany's railways.

Electric trains are very useful on crowded railway lines and offer emission-free services at the point of use, but it isn't practical to electrify every line except in the smallest or most concentrated of networks. The result is that many long-haul or underused rural lines have to rely on diesels to haul passengers and goods.

To close the circle, Alstom built the first two Coradia iLint in Salzgitter, Germany as part of an €81 million (US$94.5 million) contract to create an initial fleet of 16 hydrogen-powered trains. The Coradia iLint is is based on Alstom's diesel-powered Coradia Lint 54 and is powered by hydrogen fuel cells backed up by banks of lithium ion batteries that store excess electricity. It carries up to 300 passengers with seats for 150, boasts a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph) and has acceleration and braking performances comparable to the Lint 54.

Seating on the Coradia iLint
Seating on the Coradia iLint

Currently, the hydrogen-powered trains are being run on behalf of the German regional rail authority Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG) over 100 km (62 mi) of track between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude in place of the conventional diesel vehicles.

In between runs, the Coradia iLints will be fueled by a mobile hydrogen filling station consisting of a 40-ft-tall (12-m) steel hydrogen gas container that will be parked by the tracks at Bremervörde station. Each fill will run one train for 1,000 km (620 mi), and according to Alstom the mobile container will be replaced by a permanent filling station in 2021 when the balance of the fleet is scheduled to enter service.

"With the two Coradia iLint trains and with the use of another 14 hydrogen trains from the end of 2021, we are the first passenger rail transport authority to replace existing diesel vehicles by emission-free vehicles, thus contributing better to the fulfillment of the climate protection goals." says LLNVG chief Carmen Schwabl. "We also do this because about 120 diesel train sets in our vehicle pool will reach the end of their lifetime within the next 30 years, meaning we will have to replace them. The experience gained with this project helps us find a sustainable and practical solution."

Source: Alstom

3 comments
jerryd
Far more efficient is a battery train with a 3rd rail on up grades, regen on downgrades, charging at stations while loading, unloading and occasionally along the track, you'd only need to electrify 10% of the track at a fraction of H2FCVs total cost.
Expanded Viewpoint
Please everyone, repeat after me, "It's NOT emissions free!, it's NOT emissions free, it's NOT emissions free!!" The emissions have only been shifted in another direction and onto something else!! Until someone can come up with a system that is 100% naturally occurring and involves no mining, refining or manufacturing, there will always be some kind of a "foot print" as the Greenies just love to say, left behind. Cars powered by electricity (coal power in disguise!) are NOT any kind of a solution as they bring their own special kinds of problems right along with them, it's like marrying into a bad family!! You get the blushing bride or handsome groom, and you also get the wacky drunk aunts and uncles that totally embarrass everyone!! Randy
ljaques
Man, oh, man! I hadn't even brought one paying customer aboard and someone already stole my front grille! What's an engineer to do? Is that sustainably sourced hydrogen, or are they burning coal to get it electrolyzed from water? Or do they synthesize it from natural gas, likely a fracked source? At $94M, that works out to nearly $6M per car. Pricy, innit?