The hydrogen, aka “hydrail,” train is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and emits nothing but steam and condensed water, making it a much quieter and eco-friendly alternative to the 4,000 diesel trains currently in circulation in the country, according to a company press release.
The Coradia iLint, developed by French rail transport company Alstom, was presented last month at InnoTrans, the railway industry’s largest trade fair.
The hydrail claims speeds of up to 87 miles per hour and a hydrogen storage capacity for a 497-mile range. Excess energy is stored with onboard lithium batteries. As CityLab pointed out, the train’s fuel source is effectively carbon neutral since the hydrogen used by the train actually came from waste byproducts from the chemical industry and other manufacturers.
“Typically, this hydrogen is simply burned, so using it to power trains would not place any new, additional burden on the environment,” CityLab wrote. “Admittedly, the production of such chemicals is itself not always carbon-neutral, but given that these substances are already being manufactured, the train project will at least ensure that this process is more productive.”
According to German publication Die Welt, testing will be carried out by the end of the year. Pending successful results, the 300-passenger train will be open for the public on the Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in the German state of Lower Saxony in December 2017.
It’s likely that other German states will host these trains. Letters of intent to use the model were also signed back in 2014 with North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and the Public Transportation Authorities of Hesse.