The diesel locomotives that are currently used on the tracks in Lower Saxony that are not wired for electricity will be replaced by locomotives that run on
hydrogen. The 15 diesel-powered locomotives are being replaced by 14 H2-powered locomotives that use fuel cells to make electricity to power their engines.
The German government has been helping to spread the use of H2 as a key part of its plan to reduce carbon emissions and to get other benefits from
replacing fossil fuels. Stephan Weil, who is the governor of Lower Saxony, said that the €93 million project was an "excellent example" of how to reduce
carbon emissions. Alstom, which is a French company, made the locomotives. They will also be run by LNVG, a German regional rail company.
They will serve Buxtehude, Bremervoerde, Bremerhaven, and Cuxhaven. Alstom says that the new fleet's Coradia
iLint locomotives will be able to travel up to 621 miles (1,000 kilometres) before they need to be refuelled.
They can go as fast as 87 miles per hour at most (140 kilometres per hour).
The locomotives will make it possible to avoid using more than 422,000 gallons (1.6 million litres) of diesel each year. This is because the H2 fuel is made with
electrolysis powered by renewable electricity. Neither the production of the fuel nor its use causes greenhouse gas emissions.
At first, the H2 that will be used in the hydrogen-powered passenger train fleet will be made as a byproduct of chemical processes. Still, the goal is to switch
from this type of H2 production, which releases greenhouse gases, to green H2 production that is powered by renewable energy.