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.
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This reality is inching ever closer after researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia developed a "solar paint" capable of pulling water vapor from the air and splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen using energy provided by sunlight.
The world's largest artificial sun is now shining at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in the town of Jülich. On Wednesday, German scientists switched on project "Synlight" to test ways to make carbon-free fuel.
The honeycomb-like setup involves 149 individually adjustable xenon short-arc lamps that can produce about 10,000 times the intensity of the natural solar radiation on Earth's surface. To illustrate how powerful the lamps are, a single one can light a projector for a large cinema.
Germany will soon launch the world first hydrogen-powered, zero-emission passenger train.
The Coradia iLint, developed by French rail transport company Alstom, was presented last month at InnoTrans, the railway industry's largest trade fair.