Alstom’s hydrogen train successfully completes three months of tests in Austria

It considers that the fuel cell train is a “totally viable alternative” to diesel models.

The Coradia iLint , a hydrogen-powered electric train , has undergone a feasibility test in the Netherlands , to see if it is feasible to use this zero-emission technology in place of the pollutant and noisy diesel trains. The tests were carried out last March, on a 65-kilometer track in the province of Groningen, between the town that gives it its name and Leeuwarden. The published results report considers the fuel cell train to be a “totally viable alternative” to diesel models.

The test team, made by the Dekra institute, an independent European entity founded in Berlin in 1925 dedicated to the inspection of vehicles, has taken into account four main points to evaluate the performance of the Coradia iLint: the simplicity and ease of the operation of refueling, its economic and commercial viability, the familiarization of the public with the technology, and its adaptation to the commercial service and the timetable for running on the Dutch rail network, which has been certified by the NSA ( National Safety Assessor ).

Arriva , the operator of the line on which the tests have been carried out ensures that the Coradia iLint has complied with the stopping schedule on time, both when the convoy stops at all stations, and when it is used as an express service that performs faster tours. “The hydrogen consumption, the compatibility of the infrastructure, the acceleration, the braking, the docking in the stations, the maximum speed, the performance of the auxiliary services and all the operations developed without problems.”

The positive results of the report come as no surprise . In Germany, the Coradia iLint is already running regular services in Lower Saxony . “After Germany, the Netherlands is the second country in Europe where Alstom’s hydrogen train has proven to be an emission-free solution for non-electrified lines,” said Bernard Belvaux, Managing Director of Alstom Benelux.

Despite this very favorable report, the authorities of the province of Groningen and the operator Arriva, as well as the Dutch railway infrastructure manager ProRail and the energy company Engie, who were part of these tests, have to decide whether the cell train of Fuel will replace diesel in the region and when.

The 0 units  ordered in the first moved rail fuel cell hydrogen by the Transit Authority of Lower Saxony and the Association Regional Transport of the Rhine mounted batteries supplied by the German supplier Akasol, as announced in January this year . These batteries power on-board systems such as lighting and air conditioning, although their main task is to support the propulsion the speed recovery phases. Each Coradia iLint unit is equipped with two high-performance battery systems with a total capacity of 220 kWh. With this mixed power supply system, motors are guaranteed to perform properly when maximum power is requested from them. In addition, the batteries also store the electrical energy recovered by the regenerative braking system .

Other hydrogen-powered railway projects

A government-funded project is underway in the UK and developed by Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham’s Center for Rail Research and Education (BCRRE), which have already started testing the HydroFLEX hydrogen train .

The latest development that has been announced related to this technology is being carried out by the Spanish company Talgo . The SOI H2 conference, held in September, served as the setting for the presentation of the  first prototype of a hydrogen fuel cell system for the Vittal Cercanías and Media Distancia platform, which, thanks to its modularity, allows its installation in any type train.

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