Hydrogen fuel cell train completes first test run

Photo: Alstom.
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Alstom’s iLint hydrogen fuel cell train has completed its first 80 km/h test run.

The Coradia iLint unit carried out its trial run on the test track at Alstom’s factory in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, having already completed static commissioning.

A more rigorous testing campaign will begin at the Velim test track in the Czech Republic in the next few months. Passenger tests will then begin on the Buxtehude–Bremervörde–Bremerhaven–Cuxhaven route at the start of 2018.

In 2014, Alstom signed a letter of intent with Germany’s Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg regions and the Hessian transport association Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund to develop the hydrogen fuel cell train.

The electrical energy is generated by mixing oxygen with hydrogen from an onboard pressure tank. The energy is then stored in lithium ion batteries.

Alstom is currently using waste gas emissions during testing but plans to produce hydrogen from wind energy in the future.

Didier Pfleger, vice president of Alstom Germany and Austria, said in a statement: “This test run is a significant milestone in environmental protection and technical innovation. With the Coradia iLint and its fuel cell technology, Alstom is the first railway manufacturer to offer a zero-emission alternative for mass transit trains.

“Today our new traction system, so far successfully proved on the test ring, is used on a train for the first time – a major step towards cleaner mobility in Europe.”