The inaugural voyage of the Coradia iLint hydrogen train on June 17 marked a groundbreaking moment for North America, as it became the first hydrogen-powered train in the region, offering an eco-friendly transportation option for numerous passengers.
Through a collaborative effort involving Alstom, the Government of Quebec, Chemin de fer Charlevoix, Train de Charlevoix, Harnois Énergies, HTEC, and Accelera by Cummins, the successful launch of the hydrogen train covered a 90-kilometer route from Parc de la Chute-Montmorency in Quebec City to Baie-Saint-Paul.
Alstom, in a press release, issued the previous month, announced this momentous achievement; Michael Keroullé, President of Alstom Americas, emphasized the sustainable nature of hydrogen technology, providing customers, agencies, operators, and passengers with greener mobility solutions as a viable alternative to diesel. He also highlighted the significance of this event as a remarkable testament to Quebec’s evolving green hydrogen ecosystem.
The Coradia iLint train operates using a hydrogen fuel cell, emitting solely water vapor during its operation. Not only does it demonstrate environmental friendliness with zero emissions, but it also delivers a more serene and enjoyable travel experience, reducing noise pollution for both passengers and nearby communities.
With its maximum speed of 140 km/h and comparable acceleration and braking capabilities to standard regional diesel trains, the hydrogen-powered train showcases the potential of hydrogen technology as a feasible alternative within the transportation sector.
The entities involved in this endeavor have established an efficient process for obtaining the necessary hydrogen fuel. Serge Harnois, President and CEO of Harnois Énergies, outlined the hydrogen production that takes place at their Quebec City station, followed by transportation in high-pressure tanks to Baie St-Paul. Harnois Énergies, dedicated to energy diversification, considers this project pivotal for the future.
As an innovative partner, Accelera guides customers through the transition to clean energy by providing comprehensive hydrogen solutions. Alison Trueblood, General Manager of Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies at Accelera, expressed their focus on advancing various modes of transportation, including passenger trains, through the adoption of zero-emission technologies.
Moreover, they actively support the development of hydrogen infrastructure by utilizing electrolyzers for hydrogen production. This collaboration with Alstom and other partners drives the progression of hydrogen propulsion technology within the North American market.
To further solidify its commitment to sustainable mobility solutions, Alstom has established an innovation center in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec, dedicated to this cause. The center’s primary objective is to develop future platforms tailored specifically to the North American market, incorporating hybrid, battery, or green hydrogen propulsion systems.