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Italian rail is exploring the use of hydrogen trains

Italian rail operator Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) and Italian energy infrastructure company and Europe’s biggest natural gas transport group Snam have partnered to study using hydrogen for FS’ transport network.

“The agreement is the first of its kind in Europe between a national railway company and an energy group as hydrogen emerges as a possible solution to help meet climate targets,” reports Reuters.

FS and Snam will set up a working group to assess pilot projects to replace fossil fuels on the national railways.

FS CEO Gianfranco Battisti said:

Hydrogen rail transport is a key innovation capable of making freight and passenger transport more environmentally sustainable on the remaining railway sections not yet electrified.

In July, Electrek wrote about how Germany broke ground on the world’s first hydrogen filling station for passenger trains:

Germany rolled out the world’s first hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint trains, built by French TGV-maker Alstom, in September 2018, in Lower Saxony. The first two trains completed their 18-month test phase in February. They can run for around 600 miles on a single tank of hydrogen. The region is expected to add 14 more [of these] trains from 2021.

[They] are more expensive to buy than diesel, but cheaper to run — and of course, much better for the environment.

And in September, Electrek wrote about a new engine that runs on 85% hydrogen.

The European Commission has mapped out a hydrogen strategy to help meet the Paris Agreement goal of net zero by 2050. In the first phase, from 2020 to 2024, the objective is to install at least 6 GW of electrolyzers in the EU and produce up to 1 million tonnes of green hydrogen. The strategy then goes on to detail phases two and three to 2030.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.