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The world's first fleet of hydrogen-powered passenger trains has been launched in Germany, local authorities say. The 14 new trains will gradually replace the 15 diesel trains that previously operated on non-electrified tracks in the state of Lower Saxony.
New trains built by the French company Alstom use hydrogen fuel cells to generate the electricity needed to power the engines. The German government has supported the expansion of the use of hydrogen as a clean alternative to fossil fuels.
Lower Saxony Governor Stefan Weil said the approximately $92 million project is a great example of his state's efforts to green the economy.
“This project is a global example, an outstanding example of successful transformation in Lower Saxony,” — Weil said. ""As a renewable energy nation, we are marking another milestone on our road to climate neutrality in our transport sector".
Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge said that Coradia iLint — it is the world's first hydrogen-powered train model.
Regional rail company LNVG operates trains between the northern cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremerwerde and Buxtehude. The government has decided to switch to fuel cell trains rather than electrification route, as is done in other parts of the country, because the latter would be prohibitively expensive in that region.
According to Alstom, Coradia iLint trains have a range of up to 1,000 kilometers, which is about 621 miles, and a top speed of 140 km/h. By using renewable hydrogen, the trains will save more than 422,000 gallons of diesel per year.
Hydrogen is currently produced as a by-product of chemical processes, but the gas company Linde plans to produce it locally using only renewable energy within three years.
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