Four years after the start of testing in Germany of the Coradia iLint trains on hydrogen fuel developed by Alstom, mass passenger transport in the German land of Lower Saxony began.
The tests, which began in September 2018, lasted almost two years, with two pre-series samples of Coradia iLint operating exclusively on hydrogen fuel cells, which were tested on an already existing route operated by Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser.
The project has now reached the stage of 14 hydrogen trains: the trains themselves were developed by Alstom in the German Salzgitter, and the traction systems were purchased by the Ministry of Transport of Lower Saxony for transmission to the local public rail transport agency of Landesnahverkehrsgeellschaft Niedersachsen mbH, which began to seek an alternative to diesel locomotives as early as 2012, and committed itself to buying only green energy options such as hydrogen cells or batteries.
Hydrogen trains only emit steam and condensed water and are able to get through without refuelling about 1,000 km, each can operate on a single hydrogen tank all day. Although the EVB network has a normal train speed of between 80 and 120 km/h, the new locomotives are able to conduct the train at a speed of up to 140 km/h. The refuelling will be carried out at the Linde Special Station in Bremerwurd, which contains 64 high-pressure tanks, six compressors and two fuel pumps.
Five trains are already on the route, the rest of which will be added to the park at the end of 2022, all of which will replace diesel options operating in the transport network, thereby saving about 1.6 million litres of diesel fuel and avoiding 4,400 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The lower Saxony authorities believe that the project is far more important than a normal local initiative. Alstom has already concluded an agreement to deliver 27 Coradia iLint trains to Frankfurt City Agglomeration, six Coradia Street hydrogen trains for the Italian region of Lombardia, and 12 Coradia Polyvant for different regions of France, and testing is already under way in Poland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Austria.