Could this be the beginning of a rail revolution? A new train is coming to Germany, and it’ll be quiet, entirely free of carbon emissions, and, according to Alstom, the French rail company that developed it, the first of its kind. The Coradia iLint is powered by a hydrogen fuel tank on its roof that converts hydrogen and oxygen into electric power, with the only by-products being excess steam and condensed water. A backup system of lithium batteries provides extra power if needed, making the train completely carbon-free.
The fuel cell is supplied with hydrogen on demand and produces electric power by combining hydrogen and oxygen from ambient air, while high-performance lithium-ion batteries accumulate energy that’s not immediately used. The train also features a smart power and energy-management system that is able to instantaneously deliver power wherever it’s needed in the vehicle.
Similar to conventional, regional trains, the Coradia iLint can accommodate up to 300 passengers including 150 seated, and can travel between 600 and 800 kilometers (373 to 497 miles) per tankful at speeds of 140 kilometers per hour (87 miles per hour).
If testing is successful, the trains will roll out on the Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in Lower Saxony by December 2017.