Company and state officials have broken ground on the world’s first hydrogen filling station for passenger trains in Bremervoerde, Lower Saxony, Germany.

The project partners are gases and engineering company Linde, Alstom, state of Lower Saxony and the Elbe-Weser Railways and Transport Company (EVB).

The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by state and company representatives.

Linde will be responsible for the construction and operation of the hydrogen filling station on behalf of Lower Saxony Regional Transport Company (LNVG).

In February, the 18-month test phase for the first two trains was completed. This project is now commencing the next phase.

With construction expected to commence in September, completion is slated for mid-2021.

The station will replace the current mobile filling solution and have a daily capacity of approximately 1,600kg of hydrogen.

Alstom’s 14 hydrogen-powered regional trains, Coradia iLint, will be refuelled at the station from 2022.

The trains have a range of 1,000km and can operate emission-free on the EVB network all day with a single tank filling.

The filling station’s expansion areas will enable the production of hydrogen on-site later with electrolysis and regenerative electricity.

Alstom Germany and Austria MD Jörg Nikutta said: “The construction of the hydrogen filling station in Bremervörde will create the basis for the series operation of our emission-free hydrogen trains in the Weser-Elbe network.

“We really appreciate that Linde, as an experienced hydrogen supplier, is now also taking over the refuelling of the series trains following the successful trial operation.”

Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser GmbH (EVB) authorised signatory and SPNV division head Andreas Wagner said: “We are proud that we were the first railway company in the world with permission to operate fuel cell trains on the Weser-Elbe network.

“Our passengers were very curious about the trains and their technology from the very beginning. In addition to the very low noise level, the hydrogen train impresses with its zero emissions, especially in times of climate change. For our train drivers, the operation of iLint was a very special motivation.”

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.