Developed by French train maker Alstom, the world’s first hydrogen-powered train has been rolled out in Germany. The hydrogen train has fuel cells which can convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity. In the process, only steam and water are left behind. Excess energy is then stored in ion-lithium batteries on board the train. On a single tank of hydrogen, the Coradia iLint hydrogen-powered train can run for as much as 1,000 kilometres, which is similar to a diesel train.
The low-noise, zero-emission, eco-friendly trains can achieve speeds of up to 140 kmph. As of now, the Hydrogen required as fuel for the trains is being sourced from industrial emissions and stored at mobile hydrogen filling station. Though the cost to build these trains is high, they are cheaper to operate.
According to an AFP report, other countries such as Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Canada are also looking at hydrogen-powered trains.
Germany rolled out these trains with the aim that they can replace the country’s diesel trains in the long run. Though Indian Railways plans to phase out diesel trains by 2022, they will switch entirely to electric trains which emit between 20% and 35% less carbon per passenger mile than diesel trains. However, electric trains increase the dependency on the power grid which, as of now, mostly generates electricity through non-renewable and more polluting sources of energy despite India’s solar push.
So, maybe India can also buy them instead of the more inefficient, high-polluting bullet trains?