Industrial Engineering

World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Train Unveiled

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ISE Magazine – Volume 49 : Number 1

Zero-emission French-built Coradia iLint to hit the rails in December

Germany soon will launch the world’s first hydrogen-powered, zero emission passenger train. CityLab reported that the 300-passenger Coradia iLint regional train uses fuel cell technology to run up to 87 miles per hour, has a range of 497 miles and will connect Buxtehude and Cuxhaven. But while it won’t be the fastest and won’t go the farthest, the motor will produce nothing but steam as a byproduct and will run more quietly and cleanly than a comparable diesel engine.

While many railway lines are electrified, Germany has at least 4,000 diesel trains circulating. And across the world, many countries rely on dirtier, diesel-powered locomotives. And three other Germany states are interested in adopting the Coradia iLint model, built by the French manufacturing firm Alstom. Other than the hydrogen tank and fuel cell, the design is no different from Alstom trains currently in use. The iLint uses hydrogen created as a waste product by the chemical industry and other manufacturers. This hydrogen typically is burned, according to CityLab, so using it to power trains doesn’t add any burden to the environment. After testing, the train is scheduled to launch in December.