323: Hydrogen-powered train


At present, Indian railways has a fleet of 19,000 passenger and goods trains. Of these, about 5,000 trains run on diesel. While diesel trains are more energy efficient than automobiles, they do have their own effects on the environment, including producing nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter that can contribute to air pollution and negative health effects. Diesel engines can emit a fair amount of nitrogen compounds and particulate matter as they burn diesel fuel.


Sustainable electric trains

Indian Railways is currently working on electrifying all of its lines apart from a few narrow-gauge lines. It has a target of completing this by December 2023. The electricity will all be wind and solar generated. India Railways is also working on development of a hydrogen-powered suburban train and has floated an Expression of Interest for industry participation,

In 2018, two years after Alstom had presented its Coradia iLint hydrogen-powered train at Innotrans in Berlin, iLint entered passenger service in Lower Saxony. It had had been designed by Alstom teams in Salzgitter, Germany and in Tarbes, France, funded by the German Ministry of Economy and Mobility as part of the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP).

Following the trials Alstom stated that it would build 14 Coradia iLint emissions-free trains, that can travel 621 mi. (1,000 km.) on one full hydrogen tank, and can reach a maximum speed of up to 87 mph (140 kph) with regular services beginning in 2021.

In May 2019, German public transport network Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) subsidiary fahma placed a US$ 500m order for 27 Coradia iLint trains. Alstom would supply the hydrogen fuel in partnership with Infraserv GmbH & Co Höchst KG. A refuelling station will be located at the Höchst industrial park.

During the first quarter of 2020, the testing of the Coradia iLint train was carried out the track between Groningen and Leeuwarden at up to 87 mph (140kph). Dutch railway operators and regional authorities are looking to replace diesel fleets for operation on non-electrified lines find it a clean alternative. (

Also in Germany, Siemens and Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems with their FCveloCity® fuel cell modules have announced plans to jointly develop a fuel cell drive for the Siemens Mireo aluminum railcar.

The collaboration will also include input from RWTH Aachen University and aims to develop a new generation of fuel cells featuring longer lifecycles, higher efficiency and greater power density. The project has received around $13 million in funding from the German Federal Ministry for Transportation and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) as part of the Ministry’s ‘National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Program’. The fuel cell technology is currently slated to be ready for service and integration on-board the train platform by 2021.

In England Porterbrook is working in close partnership again with Ballard and the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) to develop the HydroFLEX, the UK’s first hydrogen powered train. HydroFLEX, was developed using an existing Class 319 train set.

Discover Solution 324: Vertical Forests

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