Fuel Cells

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trains Heading Further Down The Track in Austria

*This press release was originally distributed as Cummins Inc. As of March 8, 2023, Accelera by Cummins is the new brand for Cummins’ New Power business segment.

Hydrogen fuel cells are recognized as a technology necessary for a carbon-neutral future. Cummins fuel cells and hydrogen technologies have already powered applications ranging from grocery trucks to the first PEM electrolyzer in the United States, and now innovation continues in passenger rail in Austria.  

French railway manufacturer Alstom is among the first railway manufacturers in the world to develop hydrogen fuel cell-powered passenger trains. Alstom has already introduced the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell passenger train, called the Coradia iLint, in Germany, and Cummins supplied the fuel cells. In service since September 2018, the two hydrogen fuel cell trains have been successfully used in commercial service in Germany and following this successful test operation, now Alstom’s Coradia iLint train, powered by Cummins’ fuel cells, will run in Austria for the first time in regular passenger rail service for ÖBB, the Austrian Federal Railways.  

The train uses on-board fuel cells, to convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, emitting only steam and water and reducing operating emissions to zero. Reaching up to 140 kilometers per hour (86 miles per hour), the train was specifically designed for use in non-electrified lines. Transporting passengers across geographically challenging routes, the fuel cell train will run in Austria over a three-month demonstration period. Maintaining high levels of performance, many new innovations have been incorporated into the train, including clean energy conversion, flexible energy storage in batteries and intelligent management of motive power and available energy.  

In 2015, Hydrogenics—now part of Cummins—was selected as a key partner by Alstom to develop and implement hydrogen fuel cell systems for Alstom’s iLint. With a range of up to 1000 kilometers per each hydrogen tank fueling, the fuel cell train matches the miles per fueling performance of conventional regional trains. The first serial production of 14 iLints will start operating in 2021 in Lower Saxony, and Alstom will supply 27 hydrogen trains until the end 2022 for operations in the Rhine-Main region. In addition, Alstom announced a trial in the Netherlands which will test further hydrogen powered trains in spring 2020.  

With Cummins as a leading power provider and Alstom as a worldwide pioneer for fuel cell mobility in passenger trains, this partnership provides our customers the right solution at the right time. Cummins continues to innovate emission-free transportation and providing the hydrogen fuel cells to power the world’s first fuel cell passenger train is just one of the latest examples of how we are continuing to build our reputation as a leading provider of electrified and hydrogen fuel cell power.