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The World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Passenger Trains Have Arrived!

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The future of environmentally friendly travel might just change forever. Germany is operating the first ever rail line to be entirely run-on hydrogen-powered trains, starting from Wednesday.

Fourteen hydrogen trains powered by fuel cell propulsion are set to exclusively run on the route in Bremervörde, Lower Saxony. state subsidiary Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LVNG), the owners of the railway, and Alstom, builders of the Coradia iLint trains arrived at the 93-million-euro ($92.3 million) deal. The Elbe-Weser Railways and Transport Company (EVB) will be running the trains, and gas and engineering company Linde, are also part of the project.

The trains, five of which which debut Wednesday, will gradually replace the 15 diesel trains that currently run on the route. All 14 will be up and running exclusively by the end of the year. Just 1 kilo of hydrogen fuel can do the same distance as around 4.5 kilos of diesel.

The new trains are purportedly emissions-free and low-noise. They will have only steam and condensed water issuing from the exhaust. With a range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), these trains can run for an entire day on the network on a single tank of hydrogen. I hydrogen filling station has already been constructed on the route. The trains can go at a maximum of 140 kph, or 87mph, though regular speeds on the line are much less, between 80-120 kph.

“Emission free mobility is one of the most important goals for ensuring a sustainable future,” said Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstom’s CEO, in a statement.

According to CNN, the deal has been a decade in the making. LVNG had been looking for diesel alternatives since 2012, according to a press release, and in 2018, Alstom ran a two-year trial of the trains. Germany currently has around 4,000 diesel trains on its non-electrified tracks. The Coradia iLint has also been tested in Austria, Poland, Sweden and the Netherlands.

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