Germany to Debut Hydrogen Powered Trains

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The first hydrogen passenger train will debut in March 2022 on a German regional line, setting a new standard for zero-carbon travel in Europe.

Germany to Debut Hydrogen Powered Trains

Developed by French multinational Alstom SA and following a long trial period on a 123-km track in Lower Saxony, Alstom’s 14 Coradia iLint passenger trains will take over the regional line between Buxtehude and Cuxhaven, reaching a maximum speed of 140km/h and carrying 150 people.

Fuel cell trains are a promising alternative to the current carbon-emitting diesel engines. Alstom is the world’s second-largest train equipment supplier, and has been promoting hydrogen technology for the past 5 years.

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As EU’s climate goals become more ambitious, Alstom has already won contracts in Germany, Italy, and France, and maybe soon Austria too—France already ordered a dual hydrogen-electric train for its national railroad.

Currently, 54% of the EU’s railways are electrified, however hydrogen provides a better alternative for long-distance travel. It is estimated that by 2050 the sector could be worth between $25 billion and $48 billion, in Europe alone. Alstom expects that more than 5,000 diesel trains will be replaced by as soon as 2035.

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“We will no longer buy any diesel units,” said LNVG’s director. The railway operates 126 trains running on the fuel and is looking for alternatives.

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