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World’s first hydrogen train rolls out in Germany

Commuters in Germany now have a chance to ride the world’s first
hydrogen train as the country moves to replace old diesel-powered engines.
Instead of exhaust fumes, hydrogen trains produce only water.
A French-made hydrogen train took its first scheduled trip from the
station of Bremervörde in Lower Saxony on Monday, marking a world first for the
new transport technology.
Two Coradia iLint engines will replace diesel trains on the
100-kilometer (62-mile) route linking the towns of Cuxhaven and Buxtehude, with
14 other hydrogen trains set to be introduced across the state by 2021. The
new-type engines are produced by the French company Alstom.
“The world’s first hydrogen train is entering into commercial
service and is ready for serial production,” Alstom CEO Henri
Poupart-Lafarge said during the unveiling ceremony in Bremervörde, which
will serve as a refueling site.
The new trains carry a hydrogen tank and fuel cells on the roof, and
produce electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen. Excess energy is stored
in ion lithium batteries. The engines can run for around 1,000 kilometers
without refueling and reach a maximum speed 140 kilometers per hour (87 miles
per hour), similar to diesel trains.
Steam, not smoke
However, unlike the older machines, hydrogen trains produce only steam
and liquid water. The manufacturers claim that the new trains are also quieter
and less costly to operate.
“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 the AFP news agency.
The state of Lower Saxony will pay a total of €81.3 million euro ($95
million) for the project, in line with  Germany’s long-term initiative to drastically cut pollution and increase
the use of renewable fuel by 2050.
Alstom says that other countries were also looking into buying their
trains, including the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Canada.
The French government has already pledged to have its first hydrogen
train on rails by 2022.

Credit: DW.

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