The first (two) hydrogen-powered train in the world has started service in northern Germany. It has marked the beginning of new era towards environmental friendly journey. The Alstom manufactured 2 Coradia iLint trains and started working between Cuxhaven and Buxtehude at the west of Hamburg. Almost 100km railway track formerly used by diesel train, but now it will host more-silent engines. Alstom has made the vehicles to operate in a similar way as the existing fleet to prevent any sudden shock for passengers and crew.
The pair of trains would need to refuel their 1,000km capacity tanks at a specific H2 fueling station located at Bremervorde. The iLint trains are much similar to Toyota Mirai according to its manufacturing. The hydrogen tank feeds a fuel cell to generate energy and pushed to an electric drivetrain. A small-sized battery maintains the continuity of power and stores energy collected from regenerative braking. The fuel cell resides close to the center of the train to join one unit with the other.
Railways always need a clean energy solution, but the apparent solutions might not work according to your expectations. The electrification has been considered an apparent option. Batteries will have their own issues with their massive weight and high cost in making it difficult. The powerful energy density of hydrogen and relatively easily generation and transportation would make it more efficient for heavy loads. It is currently not a clean material, but we are hopeful that companies will push towards creating H2 with 100% renewable in the future. Its demand will increase and Alstom has pledged to deliver at least another 14 trains to the local German railway operator by the year 2021.