Following the recent announcement of the Government’s intention to remove diesel trains from the network by 2040, Alstom has developed a hydrogen-powered train that will lead to a trial in the UK within two years. In early November, Alstom and the German government announced the first order for 14 of its new ‘iLINT’ hydrogen fuel-cell powered multiple units.
The order is worth around €90million (£80m) and includes a 30-year maintenance contract. Niedersachsen is funding €81.3m and the German Federal Government the remainder as part of a wider €250m national programme for hydrogen and fuel-cell technology.
German transport ministers have said hydrogen could be 25% cheaper than diesel and be completely emission-free. Whether it is carbon-free depends upon the source of the electricity used to make the hydrogen. Hydrogen is abundant in nature making up part of the chemical composition of water along with oxygen, but separating out the hydrogen requires electrolysis – if the electricity comes from wind or solar power then the hydrogen produced could be genuinely emission free.
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