At InnoTrans (the railway industry’s largest trade fair in the world), Berlin; the French transit company Alstom unveiled the world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger train. Coradia iLint as it’s named will begin making functioning in Germany at the end of 2017.
A substantial area of Europe’s rail network is likely to remain non-electrified for a long term in spite of the number of electrification projects taken up in several countries. Hence those trains are and will continue run on diesel. More than 4,000 trains are running on diesel in Germany alone as of date.
Coradia iLint is a new CO2-emission-free train powered by a hydrogen fuel cell; its only emission is steam and condensed water and operates with a very low level of noise. Alstom is among the first few railway manufacturers in the world to develop a passenger train to run on hydrogen fuel cells. Alstom doesn’t just manufacture and market it but the company is offering a complete package, consisting of the train and maintenance, as well as also the whole hydrogen infrastructure. Coradia iLint will be manufactured at Salzgitter, company’s largest production facility.
Coradia range of modular regional trains from Alstom running on diesel are very well proven and widely accepted across the world. More than 2400 of this design trains are running successfully for over last 16 years in the world. Coradia iLint design is based on the well proved diesel train Coradia Lint 54.
The heart of the train is a fuel cell stack and hydrogen storage tanks. The hydrogen combines with ambient oxygen to generate a charge i.e. electricity required for it. Alstom has signed a 10-year exclusive agreement with the company Hydrogenics, for the supply of hydrogen fuel cells to power Coradia iLint . This is considered as a very strategic and significant move by Alstom. Hydrogenics is leading developer and manufacturer of hydrogen-based power modules in Europe. Hydrogenics is a specialist in wind-to-hydrogen production. The entire power generating system is also supported by lithium-ion battery packs. This is an auxiliary system and is combined with regenerative braking to reduce the consumption of hydrogen.
These hydrogen trains have a huge market not only in Europe but across the globe. In Europe alone, thousands of trains are still running on diesel. Electrification in all the rail networks sometimes become impossible and as of date diesel locomotive run trains is the alternative. In the United States also wide-scale deployment of hydrogen to deeply decarbonize the U.S. electricity generation, transportation, and industrial sectors, is promoted very strongly.