Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Germany to Acquire First Hydrogen Powered Train

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Germany to Acquire First Hydrogen Powered Train

Article excerpt

Travelers in Germany will soon have the opportunity to be among the first people to ride on a passenger train powered by hydrogen energy, after Germany announced that hydrail "Coradia iLint" trains will operate on some German lines beginning in December 2017.

German officials hope that the trains will provide a sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to diesel powered trains as Germany continues its push for clean energy and a diminished reliance on fossil fuels.

"Germany stands apart as a global leader in the industrialized world's push to limit fossil-fuel consumption," wrote The Christian Science Monitor's David Unger in 2014. "Forging a stable path to a post-carbon economy would be a watershed moment in human history - not to mention a tremendous economic boon for whoever finds the way. But it will not be easy to shift off the coal, oil, and natural gas that have powered global economic development for centuries."

The trains' French manufacturer, Alstom, introduced the "iLint" model at a Berlin trade show this week. The first train will run on the Buxtehude-Bremervorde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in December 2017. Railway Gazette reports that four German regions have ordered a total of 60 trains, and that orders for more are expected over the next year.

Alstom's trains use a hydrogen tank and a fuel cell on the roof to convert hydrogen into clean power, emitting only water as a byproduct. The hydrail trains can quietly travel nearly 500 miles at a time, at a relatively brisk pace of 87 miles per hour.

The train manufacturer's vice president for Germany and Austria also told the German news outlet Die Welt that they would provide a support system for the trains along hydrail routes, creating hydrogen plants as well as train cars.

While neither Germany's commitment to clean power nor the rail industry's interest in hydrogen are new, by putting them together in this way, Germany could become the catalyst for a rail industry breakthrough. …

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