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China completes testing of country's first hydrogen-powered train

Image: CRRC

China has completed testing of the country's first hydrogen-powered train. The model, built by government-owned railway manufacturer CRRC, offers speed and range comparable to existing hydrogen-powered trains on the market.

Reports from China say the local H-train successfully completed a test run of 160 km per hour (100 miles per hour) on a CRRC test track, achieving "full-system, full-scenario and multi-level performance verification". However, it was not clear whether CRRC tested the trains smart functions as well during the test. These include the ability to automatically start, stop and return to the warehouse.

Hydrogen-powered trains on the market currently offer a range of around 1,000 km on a top speed of 160 km per hour. CRRC, though, claims its train offers a better energy efficiency than rivals: the company's test data shows an average energy consumption of 5 kWh per km.

China unveiled its H-train last May. The model contains a "built-in" hydrogen power system that allows it to function without relying on secondary systems until it needs to be refueled. The train will be used to service the non-electrified sections of the country's railway network.

Existing H-trains

  • Germany company Siemens offers the Mireo Plus H train, a three-car unit with a max speed of 160 km per hour capable of traveling 800 to 1,000 km
  • France's Alstom offers the Coradia iLint with a range of 1,000 to 1,175 km but at a slower 140 km per hour speed
  • Swiss-based Stadler offers the FLIRT H2 trains. These are the smallest of the group with a max speed of 127 km per hour and range of 460 km 
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