Germany’s hydrogen trains greening transportation

Germany’s first hydrogen-powered trains are changing green transportation.

Zero-emission trains advance electric vehicle technology, especially for large and long-range versions.

Germany launched its innovative new public transit system in August 2022. Hydrogen fuel cells power 14 trains, releasing only heat and water vapor.

Alstom collaborated on the 93-million-euro German project. The hydrogen-powered train fleet is expected to save 1.6 million litres of diesel and 4.2 million kg of CO2 yearly.

The world’s first hydrogen passenger train refueling system was provided by Linde Gas & Equipment. Hydrogen-powered trains, vehicles, and buses need more hydrogen refueling stations to succeed.

Germany is pioneering clean transportation technology. Hydrogen fuel is emissions-free, 29% more energy efficient than diesel, and 10% less maintenance. It suits long-distance train lines like Germany’s new project. Due to technical and cost constraints, battery-powered trains can only go small distances.

Transportation

Hydrogen fuel cells might electrify all transportation. Recent global priorities include electric vehicle adoption. The market will reach $858 billion by 2027 with a 17.02% CAGR.

Today, most passenger automobiles are battery-electric. Scaling batteries for larger vehicles is difficult. Bigger batteries increase weight and expense. They need more cobalt from an environmentally and socially destructive supply chain.

Hydrogen fuel cells replace lithium-ion batteries perfectly. Trains and tractor-trailers scale the technology well. Hydrogen automobiles need braking and auxiliary batteries but not lithium-ion battery packs. Fuel cells don’t degrade like batteries. Like fossil fuel cars, they are refueled with liquid hydrogen.

Hydrogen fuel cell transportation benefits from the refilling system. Even consumer EVs charge overnight. Large vehicles’ charging times can be unmanageable.

Refueling hydrogen fuel cells, especially trains, is more efficient. Hydrogen fuel cell refueling is easier than battery charging, which could enhance EV adoption. Charging time is a major deterrent to EV purchases.

Hydrogen fuel cells behave like gasoline-powered cars and are easy to refuel. Fuel cell vehicles can go 400 miles per hydrogen tank, the same as a regular car. That’s 200 miles more per charge than the average battery electric vehicle. Development could make this option more energy efficient than fossil fuels.

Hydrogen fuel cells electrify trains, buses, trucks, construction equipment, and other large and long-range vehicles. Germany’s hydrogen-powered trains advance hydrogen transportation. Green trains could revolutionize public transit.