14 fuel cell trains for Lower Saxony

  • Fuel cell trains replace diesel trains
  • Lower Saxony supports purchase with 81.3 million euro
  • In Salzgitter Alstom produces 14 Coradia iLints for LNVG
  • Linde undertakes hydrogen supply for the trains

The train of the future is driven by hydrogen, runs completely emission-free and will initially accommodate local public transport in Lower Saxony. The “Coradia iLint” is manufactured by rail vehicle manufacturer Alstom for LNVG (Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen, Lower Saxony’s public transit authority). 14 fuel cell trains in all will be manufactured at the Salzgitter plant and are to transport passengers between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude from December 2021. There they replace the diesel trains of Elbe-Weser-Verkehrsbetriebe (evb,) and cut harmful emissions in daily operation to zero. The Linde Group will ensure hydrogen supply to the trains at their own refuelling station. The iLint can cover around 1,000 kilometres on a single tank, at a top speed of up to 140 km/h.

The contracts on the delivery of the 14 fuel cell trains as well as for their 30-year maintenance and energy supply were signed by the management of LNVG, Alstom and Linde on Thursday in Wolfsburg. Lower Saxony’s Economic and Transport Minister Olaf Lies hosted the signing in the margins of the Transport Minister Conference. Two prototypes of the Coradia iLint will begin pilot operation on the evb network in early 2018.

The Lower Saxony Transport Ministry is helping to fund the procurement of the 14 fuel cell trains with approximately 81.3 million euro. Transport Minister Olaf Lies presented both LNVG heads Hans-Joachim Menn and Klaus Hoffmeister with the subsidy note in Wolfsburg. The state is purchasing the Coradia iLints for its own vehicle pool and will then lease them to a rail company. The fuel cell trains will be serviced by Alstom in evb’s own workshop in Bremervörder, which will be expanded specifically for this purpose.

Enak Ferlemann, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) explained: “Emission-free, energy-efficient and cost-effective railcars with fuel cell drives are an environmentally-friendly alternative to diesel locomotives. We want invest around 8.4 million euro and support the LNVG initiative in order to strengthen Lower Saxony as an economic hub. Funding will be made available from the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, or NIP 2 for short.”

Ensuring a reliable and secure energy supply is one of the requirements for the successful deployment of fuel cell trains. The technology company The Linde Group will provide hydrogen supply for the new fuel cell trains and construct and operate the world’s first hydrogen refuelling station for this purpose in Bremervörde. Investment costs are estimated to be around 10 million euro and will be subsidised by the federal government. The local production of hydrogen via electrolysis using wind energy is planned in a later project phase.