On Wednesday, 24th August, in Germany, they marked the first trip on a railway powered entirely by hydrogen. This "world first" moment shows a huge step forward for green train transport.
Industry titans Alstom have provided a fleet of 14 trains for the hydrogen route in Lower Saxony, Germany. These trains replace their diesel predecessors on the 60-mile track.
The hydrogen trains, named Coradia iLint, were designed in South France and then assembled in central Germany.
According to Alstom, the project drew tens of millions of euros in investment and created 80 jobs across two countries.
While commercial trials have been carried out over the last five years, this moment signifies a whole fleet adopting this ground-breaking technology.
And the project does not stop there. There are already contracts in place for several dozen more trains to be added to Germany, France, and Italy's rail network, with no signs of demand slowing.
"By 2035, around 15 to 20 per cent of the regional European market could run on hydrogen," Alexandre Charpentier, rail expert at consultancy Roland Berger, told AFP. Currently, around one out of two European regional trains run on diesel.
However, Alstom is not the only one producing hydrogen trains. German competitors Siemens produced a prototype hydrogen train national rail company, Deutsche Bahn, this year with a plan to roll out in 2024.
But this is only the beginning for hydrogen.
Europe has continued to invest in the green hydrogen market, which has seen higher than expected funding, including Spain announcing a 50-million Euro green hydrogen plant in Puertollano and the UK promoting a £150 million plant at the port of Felixstowe.
With the energy crisis happening in the UK, there has been an increase in demand for alternative solutions. The Scottish Power announcement for the plant at the port of Felixstowe sees the UK plant expected to produce 100MW energy, which will power 1,300 trucks starting in 2026.
Projects are also continuing to pop up all over the world, some in more unexpected places. Africa and Latin America have both announced investment into green hydrogen this year.
The Chilian government announced its goal of 5 GW of installed electrolysis capability by 2025 and wants to produce the most cost-effective green energy by the end of this decade.
The Namibian government stated its plans to export three million tonnes a year of green hydrogen to Europe. Namibia is hoping to produce some of the world's cheapest green hydrogen.
In Brazil, The National Institute of Clean Energies announced it was setting up a new green hydrogen secretariat to support Brazil's low-cost, clean energy sector through developing its green hydrogen operations.
With demand increasing across Europe and Asia for green hydrogen, seeing projects appear in unexpected parts of the world is encouraging. We are seeing countries developing their own capabilities, ahead of the competition, as the industry continues to grow.
As green hydrogen operations continue to expand worldwide, and with the global hydrogen market expected to achieve 1 trillion USD a year by 2050, it seems that everyone wants a piece of the action.
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