World’s first hydrogen train made a successful run

Tomorrow (22 April), it’s Earth Day, so in honour of that, let’s discuss an environmentally friendly way to travel: the train. Electric trains are a relatively eco-friendly way to travel, especially if they use green energy. But during a blackout, they aren’t of much use. In addition, the cables could be damaged. As an alternative to electric trains, while using an environmentally friendly and safe fuel, Alstom’s Coradia iLint is a train that runs on hydrogen power.

The Coradia iLint is the first low floor passenger train worldwide powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, which produces electrical power for the traction. This zero-emission train is silent and only emits steam and condensed water.

Coradia iLint is special for its combination of different innovative elements: a clean energy conversion, flexible energy storage in batteries, and a smart management of the traction power and available energy. Based on Alstom’s flagship Coradia Lint (not so sustainable) diesel train, Coradia iLint is particularly suited for operation on non-electrified networks. It enables sustainable train operation while maintaining high train performance.

In March, the train made a maiden voyage successfully at 80 kilometres (50 miles) per hour. The tests were performed at Salzgitter plant (Germany) at 80 km/h and in Velim (Czech Republic) at up to 140 km/h, the maximum speed of the Coradia iLint. For the purpose of the tests, a mobile filling station was erected in Salzgitter to pump gaseous hydrogen into the pressure tank of the Coradia iLint.

The hydrogen used for the test runs is the by-product of an industrial process, which is reasonably reused as a waste product. In the long term, Alstom aims to support the hydrogen production from wind energy.

With the Coradia iLint and its fuel cell technology, Alstom says to be the first railway manufacturer to offer a zero-emission alternative for mass transit trains.

Photos: Alstom (via Designboom)