Germany will soon have a quieter, hydrogen-powered train

"Environment-friendly trains" is probably a bit of an oxymoron, unless you're talking about electric-powered ones. Ever since their first incarnations, trains have been synonymous not just with the consumption of massive amounts of diesel but also of CO2 emission. But as they are an integral part of public transportation, especially in European countries, they can't be simply removed. In Germany, however, a solution is already being tested in the form of the Coradia iLint, billed as the world's first clean and green train fit for public use.

Like many hydrogen-powered vehicles these days, the Coradia iLint train uses the combination hydrogen gas, supplied by Alstom, the French company behind the development of the train, and oxygen that is found basically anywhere. The two make for a potent combination that produces electricity not only to power the operation of the train but also to charge up lithium-ion batteries for later use.

But while it isn't exactly that impossible to power a train using renewable and clean energy, it is more difficult to make it match the performance of regular diesel-powered vehicles. That is, perhaps, the even bigger achievement of the Coradia iLint, being to reach top speeds of 140 kph (87 mph), traveling up to 800 km (497 mi), carrying up to 300 passengers at a time.

As a side effect of doing away with diesel engines, the train emits less noise. Of course it's not completely silent, as you'll sill hear the wheels on the track and the air resisting the train's motion.

The Coradia iLint is still undergoing test runs, but Germany expects the trains to go into full operation by the end of 2017 or at the start of 2018.

SOURCE: Fortune