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Prelims Syllabus : Science & Tech Mains Syllabus :

Why in news?

  • Germany on Monday rolled out the world’s first hydrogen-powered train, signalling the start of a push to challenge the might of polluting diesel trains with costlier but eco-friendly technology.

Background:

  • Hydrogen trains are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen, a process that leaves steam and water as the only emissions.
  • Excess energy is stored in ion lithium batteries on board the train.
  • The Coradia iLint trains can run for around 1,000 km on a single tank of hydrogen, similar to the range of diesel trains. Alstom is betting on the technology as a greener, quieter alternative to diesel on non-electrified railway lines — an attractive prospect to many German cities scrambling to combat air pollution.
  • Two bright blue Coradia iLint trains, built by French TGV-maker Alstom, began running a 100 km (62-mile) route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany — a stretch normally plied by diesel trains.
  • Alstom has said it plans to deliver another 14 of the zero-emissions trains to Lower Saxony by 2021, with other German States also expressing an interest.

Advantages of hydrogen fuel:

  • It’s a renewable energy source and bountiful in supply
  • It practically a clean energy source
  • Hydrogen energy is non-toxic
  • It’s far more efficient than other sources of energy
  • Used for powering space ships

Disadvantages of hydrogen fuel:

  • Hydrogen energy is expensive
  • Storage complications
  • Tricky to move around
  • It is highly flammable
  • It is not easy to replace existing infrastructure.
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