Coradia iLint: The Worlds First Fully Hydrogen-Powered Passenger Train Service

Alstom, an organisation that strives to provide sustainable foundations for the future of the transportation industry, has created the first fully hydrogen-powered passenger train service that runs on the line in Lower Saxony, Germany. Alstom first presented the Coradia iLint at the InnoTrans 2016 Berlin. Then, in 2018, the trains entered into commercial service in Germany. The deal cost the German railway LVNG 93 million euros. 

The Coradia iLint trains only emit steam and condensed water allowing it to replace the diesel trains the usually ran on the line. Moreover, the train operates with a low level of noise. Bruno Marguet, an executive with Alstom, stated: “You don’t smell the diesel smoke when you’re in the station… there aren’t diesel emissions from [nitrogen oxides], which are harmful for health.” [1] 

Notably, the Coradia iLint’s range of 1,000km gives it the ability to run all day on the line using a single tank of hydrogen. A hydrogen filling station has been set up on the route between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude. The trains can reach a maximum speed of 89mph, according to Alstom. 

Carmen Schwable, a spokeswoman for LNVG, stated that they “will not buy any more diesel trains in order to do even more to combat climate change”. [1] 

Stephan Weil, the President of Lower Saxony, called the news of the train line a “model for the rest of the world” and “a milestone on the road to climate neutrality in the transport sector.” [2] 

Alstom has made agreements to use the Coradia iLint at other locales such as 27 trains in the Frankfurt metropolitan. As well as spreading across Germany, Alstom is also set to start running trains on lines in regions in Italy, France, Polan, Sweden and Austria. 

The rollout of the train line comes in light of European sanctions on Russia, including European countries like Germany detaching themselves from relying on Russian oil and gas imports. 

At Whitestone we say while the introduction of the Coradia iLint is a great step towards sustainable transportation is Europe, the European rail network still relies heavily on trains that are not electrified in the long term. For example, Germany has more than 4,000 diesel-powered cars. There is, nevertheless, progress in switching the country’s reliance from diesel to green energy: the country’s rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, stated that it was developing a hydrogen-powered train in 2020. As well as this, the development of the Coradia iLint was supported by the German Ministry of Economy and Mobility, and funded by the German government as part of the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). 

The CEO of Alstom, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, stated: “Emission free mobility is one of the most important goals for ensuring a sustainable future”. [2] 



© 2022 Whitestone Chambers 

Supersonic Travel Set To Return In 2029

After a near-30-year hiatus, supersonic transatlantic travel is set to return. American Airlines, the world’s biggest airline, has announced a deal to purchase up to 20 Overture aircraft from Boom Supersonic. The deal has an option to extend the order to 40 aircrafts. The Overture jets are expected to start production from 2025. From 2029, the aircrafts are set to carry 65 – 80 passengers each on routes such as from Miami to London and Los Angeles to Honolulu. 

A statement released by American Airlines, said that the Overture jets will give them “an important new speed advantage”. The new high-tech jets, dubbed as the “son of Concorde” has a cruising speed of Mach 1.7 (1,300 miles per hour). Compared to most commercial aircraft, the “son of Concorde” will travel twice as fast cutting a six and a half hours journey between London and New York to three and a half hours. As well as this, a flight between London and Miami would go from nine and a half hours to less than five hours. [1] 

David Kerr, American Airline’s financial officer, stated that they “are excited how Boom will shape the future of travel both for our company and our customers.” [1] 

American Airlines’ deal is not the only deal Boom Supersonic has been engaged in. Just weeks before the news, Boom Supersonic revealed that it has a separate deal with US defence contractor Northrop Grumman to develop a military version of the Overture. Moreover, United Airlines ordered 15 jets last year, Virgin Atlantic reached a deal in 2016 and Japan Airlines have placed order for Boom Supersonic’s yet-to-launch jets. 

Boom Supersonic’s Concorde was retired back in 2003 by British Airways. In July 2000, the project was shelved after a fatal crash at Charles de Gaulle airport. In addition, ticket costs became a problem for flight demand. City and Wall Street banks did not want to pay £7,000 a seat to transport executives across the Atlantic even if it was faster. Expected prices for the upcoming Overture jet seats have not been released yet however, Blake Scholl – chief executive of Boom Supersonic – stated that tickets would be “affordable”. Scholl stated, “I started this because I was sad that I never got to fly on Concorde. I waited but no one was doing it, so I decided to. Ultimately, I want people to be able to get anywhere in the world in five hours for $100 (£83). To get there you must improve fuel efficiency, but step by step supersonic air travel will become available for everyone.” [2] 

A major issue with supersonic travel is the extra fuel required to travel at higher speeds as the airline industry is already responsible for around 5% of global warming. The industry has been committed to reducing carbon emissions. Boom Supersonic has stated that flights will fly on “up to 100% sustainable” aviation fuel. The company prioritises “circularity by repurposing used tooling, recycling components on the shop floor, and leveraging additive manufacturing techniques that result in less manufacturing waste and lighter, more fuel-efficient products”. As well as this, the company has aims to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2025 and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. [2] 

Scholl stated “We are proud to share our vision of a more connected and sustainable world with American Airlines.” [1] 



© 2022 Whitestone Chambers