Alstom presented its Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell regional train at InnoTrans, the railway industry’s largest trade fair, taking place in Berlin from 20 to 23 September 2016.
Alstom is among the first railway manufacturers to develop a passenger train based on fuel cell technology. To make the deployment of the Coradia iLint as simple as possible for operators, Alstom offers a complete package, consisting of the train and maintenance, as well as also the whole hydrogen infrastructure thanks to help from partners.
The Coradia iLint fuel cell stack is the core of the system, and is supplied with hydrogen on demand; the trains are powered by an electrical traction drive. The fuel cell provides electrical energy by combining the hydrogen stored in tanks on-board with oxygen from ambient air.
High-performance Lithium-ion batteries store energy from the fuel cell system when not needed for traction or from kinetic energy of the train during electrical braking and allows supporting energy delivery during acceleration phases. They accumulate the energy not immediately used, in order to later supply it as needed. This results in a better management of the fuel consumption.
During acceleration phases, the power of the fuel cell will be mainly used to supply traction power demand by the traction inverter and the onboard systems power demand via the auxiliary converter. Additionally, during these phases power from battery will be used to boost acceleration. The level of fuel cell power depends on amplitude and duration of high power demand: short acceleration phases with limited power demand will be mainly supplied by the battery. Only during longer phases of high power demand lead to a full power operation of the fuel cell.
During phases of lower acceleration or coasting a part of the fuel cell power will be used to recharge the battery next to its power supply to the onboard systems via the auxiliary converter. If the battery is charged enough, the fuel cell is powered down to only supply the onboard systems / auxiliary converter. This will reduce hydrogen consumption.
During braking phases the fuel cells are powered down nearly completely. The traction inverter supplies the DC-link with electrical power generated from kinetic energy of the vehicle. This power is used to supply the onboard systems via the auxiliary converter. Surplus power is used to recharge the battery. It is the secondary energy production. This system has an additional consumption advantage, as it saves hydrogen. Since the energy produced, or recovered from braking, is intelligently managed, Coradia iLint matches the reach and performance of similar regional trains, but with nearly no impact on the environment.
This launch follows the Letters-of-Intent signed in 2014 with the German Landers of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, and the Public Transportation Authorities of Hesse for the use of a new generation of emission-free train equipped with fuel cell drive.
Alstom is proud to launch a breakthrough innovation in the field of clean transportation which will complete its Coradia range of regional trains. It shows our ability to work in close collaboration with our customers and develop a train in only two years.—Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstom Chairman and CEO
Alstom’s Coradia range of modular regional trains has a proven service track record spanning more than 16 years. More than 2,400 trains have been sold around the world and demonstrate a high availability rate. Coradia iLint is based on the service-proven diesel train Coradia Lint 54. It will be manufactured in Salzgitter, Alstom’s largest site.
Despite numerous electrification projects in several countries, a significant part of Europe’s rail network will remain non-electrified in the long term. In many countries, the number of diesel trains in circulation is still high—more than 4,000 cars in Germany, for example.