In this time of rapid technological and scientific advancement, there is much speculation about the future of mass transit and what it might include. There are many different suggestions, like automated cars, but also some extremely futuristic and outlandish technologies like the Hyperloop. For now, however, most efforts are being put into developing environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional transport, for example, the zero-emission trains.
One such train, powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, has just completed its first test run in Germany. This showed to everyone that technology can operate without creating waste, and after a few more tests, the train is soon expected to begin its commercial operation. The train was developed by Alstom, and the design is named Coradia iLint.
The fuel cell that powers the train is the combination of stored hydrogen and oxygen that is being drawn from the air. This combination is used to generate electricity that can propel the train up to 87 mph, and it even creates some extra energy that is being stored in lithium-ion batteries. Energy recovery systems are also used to improve the electrical systems and its efficiency.
The train in completely sustainable, it doesn’t require electrical tracks nor any additional sort of fuel. Since there is no combustion, it is not making any noise. It only produces water and steam, which makes it perfect for densely populated areas, since it causes no pollution of any kind.
— Alstom (@Alstom) September 26, 2016
The highest speed tested so far was just under 50 mph, so more tests will be required in order to make sure that the train is also safe at high speeds.
Didier Pfleger, vice president of Alstom in Germany and Austria, said that this test run is a “Significant milestone in environmental protection and technical innovation.” He also said that the Alstom is the first railway manufacturer that offers a zero-emission alternative for mass transit trains.