Bremervorde: Germany on Monday launched the world’s first hydrogen-powered train, challenging the might of polluting diesel trains with a more expensive but eco-friendly technology.

Two bright blue Coradia iLint trains, built by French TGV-maker Alstom, began running a 100-kilometre route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany.

Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge said, “The world's first hydrogen train is entering into commercial service and is ready for serial production”. He added that Alstom plans to deliver another 14 of the zero-emissions trains to Lower Saxony state by 2021.

The Coradia iLint trains can run for around 1,000 kilometres on a single tank of hydrogen, similar to the range of diesel trains.

The company is betting on the technology as a greener, quieter alternative to diesel on non-electrified railway lines — an attractive prospect to many German cities who are trying to combat air pollution.

With inputs from AFP