Germany could be on track to become the first country in the world to have a zero-emissions passenger train.

Alstom, a French company which offers sustainable solutions for rail transport, revealed it has successfully performed the first test run of fuel cell passenger train Coradia iLint in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony.

Testing was carried out on the company’s own track and Alstom says further extensive trials will be carried out in Germany as well as the Czech Republic before the service is open to the public in 2018.

Coradia iLint.

(Alstom)

 

Coradia iLint is expected to run on the Buxtehude-Bremervorde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in Lower Saxony.

[Read more: What are hydrogen cars and how do they work?]

“This test run is a significant milestone in environmental protection and technical innovation,” said Didier Pfleger, vice president of Alstom in Germany and Austria.

“With the Coradia iLint and its fuel cell technology, Alstom is the first railway manufacturer to offer a zero-emission alternative for mass transit trains.

Coradia iLint.
(Alstom)

 

“Today our new traction system, so far successfully proved on the test ring, is used on a train for the first time – a major step towards cleaner mobility in Europe.”

Figures from the International Energy Agency’s 2015 report show 3.6% of transport emissions came from the rail sector in 2012, with the transport sector being responsible for 23.1% of global CO2 emissions.

Tests were performed at 80 km/h, but Alstom says the train can reach speeds of up to 140 km/h.

The Coradia iLint is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, which produces electrical power for the traction.

This zero-emission train is said to be silent and only emits steam and condensed water.

Read more: The artificial island off the east coast of England that will provide electricity to 80 million homes