As the world is trying to keep carbon emissions under control, humans are also looking for viable carbon-neutral transportation options. The people from French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom, might have found one: a train that emits only water vapor.
The Coradia iLint is the world's first passenger train that runs on hydrogen fuel cells. The vehicle was specifically designed as a replacement for diesel-powered trains, aiming to provide a cleaner and more environmentally friendly option for rail transportation. Traditional modes of travel have up until now mostly relied on fossil fuels, which raised some concerns due to their substantial environmental impact. The Coradia iLint operates similarly to traditional trains, but instead of using diesel engines, it relies on hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity for its electric motors. This means that the train emits only water vapor and has a reduced impact on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel trains.
So how does it work? Hydrogen fuel works by taking the hydrogen gas and using it to create energy. This energy can be used to make things move, like turning wheels in a car or generating electricity in a machine. Just 1 kilogram of hydrogen fuel can do the same as around 4.5 kilograms of diesel! Here's how it happens:
- Getting Hydrogen: First, hydrogen gas needs to be collected or produced. It can be extracted from sources like water or natural gas.
- Storing Hydrogen: Hydrogen is very light and can be stored in special tanks. These tanks keep the hydrogen safe until it's needed.
- Creating Energy: When it's time to use the hydrogen, it's sent to a special device called a fuel cell or a combustion engine. These devices react the hydrogen with oxygen from the air. This reaction releases energy in the form of electricity.
- Using the Energy: The electricity generated can power different things, like an electric motor in a car or a generator in a machine. This makes the car move or the machine work.
- Clean Result: The only thing that comes out of this process is water vapor. So, hydrogen fuel is very clean compared to gasoline or diesel, which produce pollution when burned.