A Hydrogen Hybrid of Speed and Efficiency

Energy efficiency is the new benchmark in the world of transportation. In an effort to innovate clean energy, Alstom, a French company developing systems, equipment and services for the railway sector, is also a promoter of sustainable mobility. As a leader in the high speed train sector, Alstom trains currently on the tracks are capable of reaching 186 miles/hour. Most recently, Alstom concluded testing for the world’s first hydrogen-fueled passenger-carrying train called the Coradia iLint train.

The initial test was conducted in Salzgitter, Germany, on a specially designed track that allows for speeds of up to 80km/hour. The test run was one many designed to be conducted in the next four weeks. The numerous trials aim to confirm the stability of the train’s energy supply system based on an interaction between the drive, the fuel cell and battery, along with brake reliability checks. With the train’s unveiling back in 2016, Alstom asserts that the Coradia iLint is the world’s first low-floor passenger train powered by a hydrogen fuel cell which creates its electricity. The zero-emission train creates an electrical current through the combination of hydrogen and oxygen atoms that powers it down the tracks. According to Didier Pfleger, Vice President of Alstom Germany and Austria, “This test run is a significant milestone in environmental protection and technical innovation. Our new traction system is used on a train for the first time – a major step towards cleaner mobility in Europe.” In fact, the Coradia iLint only emits steam and condensed water, unlike trains running on petrol.

Future of Hybrid Transportation

In following weeks, the train will be tested at its top speed of 86 miles/hour, vacant of human passengers. Alstom states that the first passenger tests are planned for Germany next year along the Buxtehude–Bremervörde–Bremerhaven–Cuxhaven route. If the German tests are successful, the United Kingdom will potentially adopt these trains by 2021, provided they secure a reliable nationwide hydrogen supply. Alstom remains no. 1 in the high speed train sector and keeps investing in high end segments, while developing products suited to the specific needs of the emerging markets. In its efforts to successfully follow through with its hydrogen trains, the company is leveraging Dassault Systèmes PLM solutions, including ENOVIA and CATIA, in order to unify employee collaboration on its project testing and manufacturing.

Rebecca Shpektor

Rebecca is currently a senior at Boston University majoring in public relations and mass communications. She loves creative writing, binge watching episodes of Black Mirror while cuddling with her Pomsky puppy, and eating sushi in excessive amounts. One day, she hopes to explore every country.