Alstom has signed a five-year agreement with energy infrastructure company Snam for the development of hydrogen trains in Italy.

The agreement will come into effect after the completion of the first phase for the feasibility studies later this year.

This agreement aims to develop railway mobility projects such as hydrogen-powered trains, along with the related technological infrastructure, management and maintenance services.

Alstom will be responsible for the manufacture and maintenance of newly built or converted hydrogen trains while Snam will develop the production, transport and refuelling infrastructures.

In 2017, Alstom conducted the first test-run of the Coradia iLint fuel cell passenger train at its test track in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, Germany. The train has been in operation for 1.5 years.

Snam was one of the world’s first companies to trial a 10% hydrogen injection into the natural gas transportation network.

Snam CEO Marco Alverà said: “This move is a further contribution to the decarbonisation of transport and to the development of hydrogen economy in Italy. Hydrogen produced from renewables will become competitive with fossil fuels in a few years and will play a key role in the energy transition, particularly in industry, heating and heavy transport.

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“It will be a pillar of the European Green New Deal and post-Covid investments. Snam is investing and innovating to make its network compatible with hydrogen, to encourage the development of new technologies and create an Italian supply chain.

“Our country has the opportunity to be among the world leaders in the sector, reaping the environmental and economic benefits of this climate leadership.”

Alstom Italy and Switzerland MD Michele Viale said: “We believe in hydrogen. This is the reason why we have signed a partnership with Snam. Coradia iLint, the first hydrogen-powered train, is already in passenger service between the towns of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude in Germany.

“We hope that Coradia ILint hydrogen trains will soon become a reality in Italy, too. Thanks to a partner like Snam, we will be able to respond to the market by offering a full-fledged solution.”

In March, Alstom carried out ten days of tests of the Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell train on the 65km line running between Groningen and Leeuwarden in the north of the Netherlands.