Since September, the route between Cuxhaven and Buxtehude has been operated by two hydrogen trains, among others . These are the first two of their kind in regular operation and the only ones of their kind to date. After covering around 100,000 kilometres, the manufacturer Alstom and the operator, Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser, have now drawn a first conclusion. The result: So far, no major problems have occurred, so that regular train operation could also be handled with the new type of drive. The route was also chosen because it is not electrified. Normally there are not exactly environmentally friendly diesel locomotives operating there. The two hydrogen trains, on the other hand, each have a fuel cell on the roof and refuel the required fuel at a specially constructed filling station in Bremervörde.
Other transport companies want to use the technology
However, the energy produced by the train alone is only sufficient to maintain a constant speed. However, additional power is required when starting off and when driving uphill. These provide lithium-ion batteries which are charged by recuperating the braking energy. The hydrogen train called Coradia iLint was developed by the French company Alstom. At the Innotrans trade fair in Berlin, the train with the innovative drive system was on display for the first time in 2016. It then took another two years for the first two trains to be integrated into the regular operations of a transport company. After the successful conclusion in the north of Germany, the next deliveries could soon follow. The Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund, for example, ordered 27 specimens of the Coradia iLint
The hydrogen drive has advantages and disadvantages
The advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen propulsion are not only discussed in trains, but also in the automotive industry. Among the supporters is here above all the Japanese group Toyota. The advantages are the longer range compared to conventionally charged batteries. In addition, the refueling stop lasts only a few minutes at a time. However, critics point out that a fuel cell does not produce any emissions while driving. So far, however, this is still the case in the production of the hydrogen required. Moreover, the construction of the infrastructure is comparatively expensive: a single hydrogen filling station costs around one million euros.
Via: SN Online