In March, Germany successfully tested the world’s first “Hydrail”– a hydrogen-powered train that runs silently while running on tracks. The only sound it gives off comes from the wheels and air resistance. As compare to conventional diesel based trains, this hydrogen-powered train produces 60% less noise and emits only non-toxic water.
It uses the same equipment as a diesel train but replaces hydrogen instead of diesel as its fuel source. There are the large fuel cells placed on the top of the train. These fuel cells generate electricity to charge lithium ion batteries by combining oxygen and hydrogen.
The new train is ideally suited for short stretches of the European network that have not been converted to electric rails. It can travel more than 500 miles per day on a single tank of hydrogen with carrying 300 passengers at a time.
Jens Sprotte of Alstom, the French producer of the train said, “It’s speed and the possibility to transport passengers match the performance of a diesel train. And due to the emission of water and steam only, this hydrogen-based train results only few impact on the environment. The steam it emits is so clean that you can breathe.”
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According to estimate, almost 20% of Europe’s current rail traffic runs on diesel. So, the country particularly taking interest in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
A recent German Environment Agency report said the country continues to emit the equivalent of 906 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year, tarnishing its reputation as a green energy pioneer.
Alstom hopes that this hydrogen-powered train will profit the countries a couple of years. In addition, it will soon replace the diesel based trains.
The train will run on tracks by the start of 2018. It will provide a green substitute to the 4,000 diesel trains currently running in Germany.