Alstom has conducted the first test-run of the fuel cell passenger train Coradia iLint, reaching speeds of 80km/h at its test track in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, Germany.

In the following months, the company will perform an extensive test campaign in Germany and Czech Republic before the Coradia iLint performs its first passenger test runs on the Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven (Germany) route next year. 

The ongoing four-week tests assess stability of the energy supply system based on coordinated interaction between the drive, the fuel cell and vehicle battery.

Test-runs will also evaluate braking power to check the interface between the pneumatic and electric brake.

Alstom Germany and Austria vice-president Didier Pfleger said: “This test-run is a significant milestone in environmental protection and technical innovation.

“With the Coradia iLint and its fuel cell technology, Alstom is the first railway manufacturer to offer a zero-emission alternative for mass transit trains.

“Today our new traction system, so far successfully proved on the test ring, is used on a train for the first time, a major step towards cleaner mobility in Europe.”

The Coradia iLint is a low-floor passenger train powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

According to the company, the new zero-emission train is silent and discharges only steam and condensed water.

The train features various attributes including clean energy conversion, flexible energy storage in batteries and a smart management of the traction power.

In particular, Coradia iLint is designed to operate on non-electrified networks.

The tests are performed at Salzgitter plant at 80km/h and in Velim (Czech Republic) at up to 140km/h, the maximum speed of the Coradia iLint.

The company has constructed a mobile filling station at Salzgitter to pump gaseous hydrogen into the pressure tank of the Coradia iLint for these testing purposes.

Hydrogen it uses as fuel is the by-product of an industrial process. In future, Alstom intends to procure fuel hydrogen from wind energy.

"This test-run is a significant milestone in environmental protection and technical innovation."

Coradia iLint has completed the static commissioning process. 

TÜV Süd has certified battery safety, the pressure tank system and the fuel cell for the upcoming test phases.

Alstom designed the Coradia iLint via its teams in Germany at Salzgitter’s site and in Tarbes, France, with support of the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

The company has signed letters of intent for 60 trains with the German states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and the Hessian transport association ‘Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund’.

Image: Alstom conducts maiden successful test-run of Coradia iLint. Photo: courtesy of Alstom.