The world-first trial of two hydrogen fuel-cell trains in passenger service has been successfully completed.
The two Alstom Coradia iLint trains have passed 530 days and 180,000km of operation for LNVG, the transport operator for the German state of Lower Saxony.
With the trial now completed, 14 Coradia iLint trains will enter service in 2022, replacing the existing diesel multiple units.
Alstom will manufacture the trains and maintain them at its site in Salzgitter. Gases and engineering company Linde will construct and operate a hydrogen filling station near Bremervoerde station.
Jörg Nikutta, managing director for Germany and Austria of Alstom Transport Deutschland said that the new trains are a step forward for emissions-free transport.
“Our two pre-series trains of the Coradia iLint have proven over the past year and a half that fuel cell technology can be used successfully in daily passenger service. This makes us an important driving force on the way to emission-free and sustainable mobility in rail transport,” he said, noting that data from the trial will inform the development of hydrogen propulsion technology.
Lower Saxony’s Minister of Economics and Transport Bernd Althusmann said that the completed trial has a significant beyond transport.
“Alstom has made hydrogen history here. The project is of a great importance to industrial policy that goes far beyond Germany. Here, we are witnessing the first competitive product of hydrogen mobility at industrial level.”
When used, hydrogen produces no emissions, apart from water, and the hydrogen-powered propulsion system also reduces the amount of noise the trains produce. The Coradia iLint has been designed to replace diesel units on non-electrified lines. Enak Ferlemann, parliamentary state secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, said that this was where hydrogen could play a big role.
“Hydrogen is a real low-emission and efficient alternative to diesel. Especially on secondary lines where overhead lines are uneconomical or not yet available, these trains can travel cleanly and in an environmentally friendly way. We would like to see more such applications.”