The world’s first hydrogen train is currently being tested in Salzgitter, the Coradia iLint. 2018 the first journeys with passengers are to follow.
The world’s first hydrogen train has completed its maiden voyage on a test track in Salzgitter. The CO2-free Coradia iLint was developed by the French rail vehicle manufacturer Alstom and reaches speeds of 80 to 140 km/h.
The ride was the first of a four-week trial to test the stability of the power supply system and the electrical braking system. The year 2018 will be the first tests with passengers in Germany.
According to Alstom, the Coradia iLint is the first low-floor passenger train powered by hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells. Oxygen atoms react with hydrogen atoms and generate electrical energy. Even cars like the Toyota Mirai use the technology, but they have not yet established themselves on the market.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, this type of energy generation is “two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine” with petrol. In addition, the hydrogen drive does not emit any pollutants but only water vapor and condensation water.
On the test track in Salzgitter, there is an own hydrogen filling station where the gas is pumped into the pressure tank of the Coradia iLint. The hydrogen used in this process is actually a by-product of an industrial process and is used as a waste product in a meaningful way. Thus the Coradia iLint is an excellent alternative to the diesel train.
On a second test track in the Czech Republic, the train is accelerated to its maximum speed of 140 km/h. Previously, all electrical and pneumatic functions were checked and confirmed at a standstill.
This test drive is an important milestone for environmental protection and technical innovation. Today, this new drive system, which has so far been tested successfully on the trial bench, is a decisive step for clean mobility in Europe.
If all tests are successful, next year the train will start its trial with passengers on the route Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven. In 2021, the Coradia iLint is also to be used in Great Britain.
However, the mammoth task has to be tackled first, to ensure a nationwide hydrogen supply. So far, there are only eight hydrogen filling stations for cars all over the UK.
In Germany, there were already 21 stations in mid-2016, until 2023 the number will be increased to 400 increase. The British government also wants all cars to be driven without emissions by 2050, with the aim of expanding hydrogen filling stations in particular.