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First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trains Start Operations in Germany With a Range of 1,000 Km

Although vehicles powered by batteries have amazing energy efficiency, they are no match for those that run on hydrogen when it comes to carrying heavy loads or passengers. The latest example of that is the Coradia iLint train. Built by Alstom, it started to operate in Germany with a range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).
Alstom Coradia iLint trains started operating in Germany on August 24 9 photos
Alstom Coradia iLint trains started operating in Germany on August 24Alstom Coradia iLint trains started operating in Germany on August 24Alstom Coradia iLint trains started operating in Germany on August 24Alstom Coradia iLint trains started operating in Germany on August 24Alstom Coradia iLint trains started operating in Germany on August 24Alstom Coradia iLint trains started operating in Germany on August 24Alstom Coradia iLint trains started operating in Germany on August 24Alstom Coradia iLint trains started operating in Germany on August 24
The first Coradia iLint trains are being used on the route between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude. Alstom will build 14 trains for these routes, which will weirdly replace 15 diesel trains that were used to connect these German cities before. Alstom did not clarify why the fuel cell trains do not replace precisely the same number of diesel trains.

The range the filled-up hydrogen tanks provide is more than enough for these trains to run all day long. That allows these trains to only need one daily hydrogen refueling session. Linde created a hydrogen station specifically for these trains. Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG) is the company operating them to carry passengers between the German cities.

Alstom did not disclose anything about the operation cost of the Coradia iLint trains. It is probably higher than that diesel trains present. However, that is expected when you still need to create the refueling infrastructure. Unlike what the name suggests, diesel=electric trains also use electric motors: the diesel engine works only as a generator.

That said, they already seize the efficiency of electric motors. The issue is that they burn fossil fuels and pollute, even if much less than if the diesel engines powered the train. With fuel cells, the byproducts are steam and water. If the Coradia iLint trains do well, they may have a fantastic opportunity: there are 4,000 diesel locomotives to replace only in Germany.

Alstom is already producing more Coradia iLint trains for other customers. Besides the LNVG contract, it has three more: another one in Germany (for 27 hydrogen locomotives), one in Italy (6 Coradia iLint units, with the option to buy 8 more), and the last one in France (12 trains).

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