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French transit company Alstom this week unveiled the world’s first hydrogen powered passenger train. Alstom unveiled their engineering marvel at InnoTrans, an annual trade show in Berlin. It’s called the Coradia iLint and it will be coming to Germany in 2017. This was first reported by German newspaper Die Welt.
The Coradia iLint houses a hydrogen fuel cell on its roof. Hydrogen fuel cells are a completely clean energy resource since they emit only steam and condensed water. Alstom hopes that this train will encourage more around the European continent which still relies heavily on diesel trains despite many electric train projects. Europe is moving toward a greener economy though, with many small nations producing most or all of their power needs via renewable resources; some very recently.
Starting in late 2017, the train will run on the Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in the north western German State of Lower Saxony, the transportation department has ordered fourteen such trains. Meanwhile, the Federal Railway Authority Eisenbahn-Bundesamt will commence testing them in 2016 which will be completed by late 2017.
This, however, isn’t the first hydrogen powered vehicle to be tested. Prototypes like this as well as hybrids have occurred in Japan. Stan Thompson, former strategic planner at AT&T, coined the term hydrail to refer to any train that ran on hydrogen fuel cells.