The world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger trains, produced by France’s Alstom, are slated to enter regular commercial service in the German state of Lower Saxony in March 2022. Alstom’s Coradia iLint trains were successfully tested by German rail operator LNVG from September 2018 to the end of February 2020, on a 123-kilometer railway section.
The French company, which has already started serial production of the hydrogen-powered trains, will deliver 14 units to LNVG. Coradia iLint trains have also been tested in Austria and the Netherlands, according to Alstom’s website.
Hydrogen trains are a reliable, emission-free alternative to diesel-powered trains.
The French manufacturer has recently said the project has proven that hydrogen propulsion is a reliable and emission-free alternative to diesel-powered regional trains on non-electrified lines. According to reports, over 50% of railway tracks in the European Union are not electrified.
The Coradia iLint train features several innovations, including clean energy conversion and flexible energy storage in batteries, Alstom said.
Germany’s Siemens is also developing hydrogen-powered trains.
Alstom’s German rival Siemens has also been working on hydrogen propulsion for railways, and expects to put a test train running on hydrogen into operation in 2024, according to earlier reports.
Last year, the EU launched the Clean Hydrogen Alliance initiative as part of efforts to dercabonize hard-to-abate sectors, including transportation, and meet its climate neutrality target by 2050.
Airbus hopes to develop hydrogen-fueled hybrid aircraft by 2035
In September 2020, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus showcased concepts for hydrogen-fueled hybrid airplanes, with plans to develop the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035.