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H2 Forum: ALSTOM is ready to sell the first-ever hydrogen locomotives.

H2 Forum: ALSTOM is ready to sell the first-ever hydrogen locomotives.
photo: Alstom/iLint locomotive in testing by ÖBB
28 / 04 / 2021

ALSTOM started their presentation at H2 Forum with a commerce video for their Hydrogen locomotives. They started the development in 2016, and now they are at the end of the testing phase. Their customers might struggle with the lack of fuelling stations, but they expect cooperation both with the governments and the competition, which they do not fear.

Alstom presented the first-ever hydrogen locomotive for sale. They underwent testing with ÖBB, and they are ready to supply the locomotives to other customers. On 15 April 2021, Alstom signed a contract with FERROVIENORD for 20 of those locomotives. 

We are, as always, very proud to be working with our trusted partners FNM and FERROVIENORD to provide modern, comfortable and sustainable regional transportation in Italy. In the last 10 years, Alstom has delivered 54 regional trains for Lombardy. The new generation of Coradia Stream represents the best solution for meeting the increasing needs of both the region’s travellers and the operator,” said Michele Viale, Managing Director of Alstom Italy.

Dr. Jörg Nikutta, the Managing Director of ALSTOM Transport Deutschland GmbH, represented Alstom at the H2 Forum. He said that the hydrogen trains can run anywhere in Germany and Austria. They already started serial production.

Their locomotive has similar features as the diesel one. It has the same anatomy. But in comparison with them, fuelling stations are an issue. But since their routes, the distance they will travel, and the consumption are known, it should be simple to calculate how much hydrogen they need. In addition, it is the same hydrogen as for cars and busses. That means the fuelling stations can be intermodal. Jörg Nikutta wishes for the competition in the Hydrogen market to cooperate with Alstom to create the fuelling station infrastructure. He also thinks the governments should help them for the hydrogen to be able to compete with diesel. He also thinks that there is no need for more government regulations, but rather the producers should work together towards norms. They should focus on how the purity of the hydrogen or how to store it.

Alstom is at the end of the testing phase, which took two years. According to Jörg Nikutta, the temperature is an issue for hydrogen. “It might get really hot. Especially while fast fuelling,” said Jörg Nikutta. But for fast fuelling, the hydrogen must be there. Storing the hydrogen in liquid form would lower the need for fuelling. On the other hand, it is much harder to store, so they went with the gas form. They were concerned about the weight, but fortunately, the hydrogen is light. The locomotive has a battery that is in use, while the train must not use its full power. 

They do not fear the competition in the field. Right the opposite, Jörn Nikutta said: “The more, the better,” concerning the possible competition from the side of China. They think the economy is in favour of hydrogen locomotives, and it will get better with time. They think it makes sense for the customer to buy such a locomotive even now.