World′s fastest hydrogen train is in China

China launches a new self-driving hydrogen train: Germany has 14 similar trains in operation since last year, cutting emissions by 4,400 tonnes of CO2 a year

Chinese industrial giant CRRC, in partnership with Chengdu Rail Transit, introduced a new zero-emission train powered by hydrogen for passenger transport. The new train offers a range of 600 Km, and it’s the fastest to date, with a top speed of 160 Km/h. 

The CRRC train uses hydrogen to generate electricity in its fuel cells, emitting nothing but water as a byproduct of the power generation process. It also sports self-driving functionalities, a 5G network connection, automatic start and stop, plus a feature to have it return autonomously to the depot for maintenance and refueling.

While the CRRC train is the fastest hydrogen train ever introduced, it’s not the one with the best range. As of last year, 14 Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel-cell trains with a range of 1000 Km have already been deployed in Lower Saxony, Germany, on a stretch of railroad that is now operating as a fully zero-emissions route. 

Designed by Alstom engineers, the 14 trains are considered a viable alternative to diesel engines, especially on regional railways such as the one in Lower Saxony. On the route they’re currently operating, the hydrogen trains replaced 15 diesel locomotives, thus avoiding the emission of 4,400 tonnes of CO2 every year.

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