Germany attracting global attention with hydrogen-powered passenger trains

The first rail line to be entirely run with hydrogen-powered trains powered by fuel cell propulsion will start operating in Germany.

The route of the trains will travel through Bremervrde, Lower Saxony, as part of a €93 million agreement between state subsidiary Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen, the owners of the railway, and Alstom, builders of the Coradia iLint trains.

The trains, five of which will begin operating this week, will gradually replace 15 diesel trains currently running on the route, and all 14 will be carrying passengers by the end of the year.

Only 1 kilogram of hydrogen fuel will generate the same power as some 4.5 kg of diesel.

The trains, which have a range of 1,000 kilometers, are emissions-free and low-noise, with only steam and condensed water issuing from the exhaust. They can run for an entire day on a single tank of hydrogen.

The route already has a hydrogen filling station installed.

The trains have a maximum speed of 140 kilometers per hour, or 87mph, but their regular speeds on the line are only between 80 to 120 kph.

In a statement, Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge, said, “Emission free mobility is one of the most important goals for ensuring a sustainable future.”

Stephan Weil, President of Lower Saxony, said the launch of the trains is a “model for the rest of the world” and “a milestone on the road to climate neutrality in the transport sector.”

The next destination is Frankfurt, where 27 hydrogen trains have been ordered for the metropolitan area.