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Hydrogen-powered trains are a reality. Here is the new Coradia iLint

Unveiled in Berlin by Alstom, this sustainable hydrogen-powered train that produces zero emissions will replace diesel-burning ones.

It is not like travelling backward in time, even though the first trains were powered by steam engines. Coradia iLint is the eco-friendly evolution of the first locomotives that revolutionised mobility back in the XIX century: it will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which emit only steam and water vapour.

Officially unveiled by French manufacturers Alstom at InnoTrans, an annual trade show taking place in Berlin, Coradia iLint is the first train powered by hydrogen fuel cells. “Alstom is proud to launch a breakthrough innovation in the field of clean transportation which will complete its Coradia range of regional trains”, Alstom chairman and CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge said in a statement. “It shows our ability to work in close collaboration with our customers and develop a train in only two years”.

hydrogen-powered train
The first train convoys will arrive in Germany in about two years © Alstom

The first hydrogen-powered train

The new regional train will feature a hydrogen tank that will generate electricity to fuel the convoys. It will emit only vapour and will be superquiet.

The French company will supply the convoys, manage the necessary maintenance works as well as the entire hydrogen infrastructure and collaborate with the other partners of the initiative.

hydrogen-powered train
The interior of the Coradia iLint hydrogen-powered train © Alstom

There are too many diesel-burning trains

Coradia iLint is a technological innovation that could help the rail industry to reduce its environmental impact in Europe as well as in the rest of the world. Germany has already signed a letter of intent in 2014 expressing its interest in adopting the zero emissions model.

In Europe 20 percent of trains are powered by diesel engines. According to the European Commission, in 2013, 53 percent of the European railway network was electrified. Which means that half the European trains are powered by fossil fuels.

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