For the first time in the world, Germany launches hydrogen-powered trains that produce water as waste

2022-09-07 2022-09-07T21:08:50Z
رنا السيلاوي
رنا السيلاوي
محرر أخبار - قسم التواصل الاجتماعي

Weather of Arabia - Germany has launched a new railway line that runs entirely on hydrogen, in a precedent that is the first in the world, which constitutes an important progress towards stopping the use of carbon in the operation of trains, and "avoiding the production of" 4400 tons of carbon dioxide every year.

 

A fleet of 14 trains supplied by the French company "Alstom" will replace the current diesel-powered trains on the approximately 100-kilometre rail linking Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremerford and Buxthode.

 

The trains were designed in Tarbes, in southern France, and assembled in Salzgitter, central Germany. The fleet cost 93 million euros, and the trains were called Coradia iLint.

 

 

How do hydrogen trains work?

Hydrogen trains mix hydrogen and oxygen from the surrounding air, thanks to a fuel cell mounted on the ceiling. This process produces the electric current needed to run the train, with water being the only by-product (waste) of the process.

 

Hydrogen-powered trains can achieve speeds of up to 140 km per hour and run distances of up to 1,000 km without refueling, which is ten times more than battery-powered electric trains. Refueling is also quick and takes place in less than 20 minutes.

 

Hydrogen trains have become a promising way to decarbonize the railway sector and replace diesel, which still powers 20% of Germany's transport.

 

 

More hydrogen trains in European countries

The French group signed four contracts to supply dozens of trains with hydrogen in Germany, France and Italy, in the absence of any indication of a decline in demand. Alstom project manager Stefan Schrank believes that in Germany alone, "between 2,500 and 3,000 diesel trains may be replaced by hydrogen trains."

 

"By 2035, between 15% and 20% of the regional European market could run on hydrogen," Alexandre Charpentier, an expert on railways at management consultancy Roland Berger, told AFP.

 

Alstom's competitors also entered the race to work on similar projects. The German company Siemens unveiled a prototype of the "Deutsche Bahn" train last May, with the aim of starting operation from 2024.

 

 

Obstacles and challenges

Despite the attractive prospects offered by these companies, "there are real obstacles" to these projects, according to Charpentier, as the entire transport sector, whether land or air, as well as heavy industries, rely on hydrogen technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

 

The infrastructure to accommodate hydrogen technologies in Germany - and throughout Europe - remains insufficient, despite Berlin's announcement in 2020 of a seven-billion-euro plan to become the leader in hydrogen, which requires massive investment.

 

"For this reason, we do not expect that diesel trains will be replaced by 100 percent hydrogen," Charpentier explains.

 

The manufacture of hydrogen may require chemical reactions that use carbon. Therefore, experts consider that only "green hydrogen", which is made from renewable energies, is sustainable.

 

Other ways to manufacture hydrogen are more common, but they are made from fossil fuels and thus emit greenhouse gases. Hydrogen is derived from “95% of the conversion of fossil materials, about half of which comes from natural gas.”

 

However, Europe is mainly facing pressures in storing Russian natural gas, against the background of European attitudes towards Moscow due to its invasion of Ukraine. In order to meet its needs, Germany will turn to Canada to buy hydrogen.

 

On the sidelines of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's visit to Canada, Berlin signed an agreement with Toronto to import large quantities of renewable hydrogen made in Canada from 2025.

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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