Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

World's First Zero-Emissions Hydrogen Trains Enter Service

Renewable Energy
The Coradia iLint. Alstom/René Frampe

The world's first hydrogen fuel cell train officially entered commercial service in the German state of Lower Saxony on Monday.

The Coradia iLint, developed by French railway manufacturer Alstom, features fuel cells that convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, emitting nothing but steam and water. The low-noise train can reach up to 140 kilometers (87 miles) per hour and accommodate up to 300 passengers.


Two such models entered service, replacing some of the noisy, diesel-fueled trains that had been in circulation. Alstom has plans to deliver another 14 Coradia iLints to Lower Saxony by 2021, according to a company press release. The state government has invested €81 million (about $94.7 million) for the technology.

Roughly 120 diesel trains in the existing fleet will reach the end of their lifetime within the next 30 years, meaning the new trains could be a sustainable and practical replacement going forward, a transport official noted.

"The emission-free drive technology of the Coradia iLint provides a climate-friendly alternative to conventional diesel trains, particularly on non-electrified lines," Bernd Althusmann, Lower Saxony's Minister of Economy and Transport, said in the release. "In successfully proving the operability of the fuel cell technology in daily service, we will set the course for rail transport to be largely operated climate-friendly and emission-free in the future."

Passengers will be able to take the new, bright blue trains on a 100-kilometer (62-mile) line running between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude on a fixed timetable.

The two Coradia iLints are fueled at a mobile hydrogen filling station. Hydrogen gets pumped into the train via a 40-foot-high steel container next to the tracks at Bremervörde station. At a full tank, the train can run a full day with up to 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of autonomy, a range similar to diesel trains. Excess energy is stored with onboard lithium batteries.

"This is a revolution for Alstom and for the future of mobility. The world's first hydrogen fuel cell train is entering passenger service and is ready for serial production," Henri Poupart-Lafarge, chairman and CEO of Alstom, said in the release. "The Coradia iLint heralds a new era in emission-free rail transport. It is an innovation that results from French-German teamwork and exemplifies successful cross-border cooperation."

Alstom said that Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Canada are also looking into the technology, Agence France-Presse reported. France also wants hydrogen trains to be on its rails by 2022.

"Sure, buying a hydrogen train is somewhat more expensive than a diesel train, but it is cheaper to run," Stefan Schrank, the project's manager at Alstom, told AFP.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A protest against the name of the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2014. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The survival tools northern fish have used for millennia could be a disadvantage as environmental conditions warm and more fast-paced species move in. Istvan Banyai / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma

Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.

Read More Show Less
A mother walks her children through a fountain on a warm summer day on July 12, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus. blackCAT / Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of burnt areas of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 24, 2019. CARLOS FABAL / AFP via Getty Images

NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
A baby receives limited treatment at a hospital in Yemen on June 27, 2020. Mohammed Hamoud / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 2006 oil spill was the largest incident in Philippine history and damaged 1,600 acres of mangrove forests. Shubert Ciencia / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jun N. Aguirre

An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.

Read More Show Less